ISOLATION

I haven’t been reading a lot of comics lately. Well, ‘cept for the SHOWCASE: JONAH HEX volume that James from the Isotope pressed into my hands upon my last visit there. That’s got some right fine artwork, it does. Writing is…well, kinda 70s DC house style, but it’s easy enough on the eyes. Though I’m a little surprised that they were drawing Hex’s face like Clint Eastwood’s even back then. I was thinking that said likeness was a more modern development.
What I have been doing is watching a lot of horror movies. Having skipped out on nearly everything that wasn’t an out and out zombie movie, as they played in the theatres, I missed out on a few things. And there’s some that woulda gone under the radar anyways. Take ISOLATION, for example.
Spoilers follow. Avert your eyes. No, really.

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Things that make me happy

Whilst in San Francisco to get my copy of BLACK DOSSIER signed, I was asked by Ian (Brill of the Building fame) about what makes me happy lately. He knows that I’m usually grumpy and prickly about Things In General, so if something makes me happy, it must be pretty good.
Here’s a few of those things, and some that occurred to me later:
THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BYE by John D. MacDonald. Beautiful prose, engaging story and smarter than it has any right to be.
SHINE ON ME by The Prisoners. This tiny single (three songs) packs so much epic goodness in that there ought to be a law against it. Driving, melodic, swirly organ (thanks to James Taylor), biting songwriting (perhaps not as clever as Paul Weller, but Graham Day knows what the hell he’s doing.) it came out several (maybe ten) years ago now, but it never fails to put a smile on my face.
THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST – the film, that is. Wow, just wow. I love the album to pieces, but this performance blows the recording out of the water, and not just because Bowie is on fire, but because the Spiders are as well.
THE WOODEN SHJIPS – monster psych like you like it.
JOHN CARPENTER – watching a good deal of his output right now. Really, there aren’t any losers in his films up to the nineties. THE THING, THE FOG (of which the best parts are all last-moment additions put in when the original cut didn’t deliver), ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (audacious to say the least), THEY LIVE, THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (which I really should watch again.)
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN – Duh. Why is Superman Superman? Read and learn. I wish that Batman was delivering the same zing, but it isn’t.
DEBATE – Superheroes are not hard. If you think so, you’re probably doing it wrong.
THE ISOTOPE – James is a king among men. Who else could actually sell me on WORLD WAR HULK? He gets it, and talking comics with him makes the trip into the city worthwhile. Even if parking in his neighborhood is an exercise that would test the patence of a Zen monk.
KEVIN O’NEILL – If I was a good blogger, I’d scan the sketch of Nemesis the Warlock that I had done. He makes the new LEAGUE book shine, particularly the fine erotica of the Fanny Hill subsection. Sublime.
LA FIESTA – A local taqueria that stands head and shoulders above the rest. And coming from San Diego, I’ve got relatively high standards in that regard. Carnitas with enough roasting to make them a little crispy yet succulent. Prepare my bypass surgery, stat!
KING FOOT SUBS – A kimchi beefsteak? Yes please.

When is a joystick not a joystick?

Level Up : How the Videogame Industry Shot Itself In the Joystick–and Why the Wii Has Stopped the Bleeding
Required reading. Disruptive technologies (like the OGN and webcomic) rule. Thesis, meet antithesis. Can’t wait for the synthesis.
Speaking of which, guys like this are part of the problem, not the solution. Oh no, young males not the end-all, be-all of the videogame market? Everything I know is wrong!
Substitute “video games” for “comics.”
Thanks to Dorian for pointing this out.

TWENTY-TWO

As suggested by Sean, a list of current favorite horror flicks. No, I can’t be bothered to find images for them all.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
They’re coming to get you, Barbara.
ALIEN
Mother!
DAWN OF THE DEAD
Maybe it’s all that they remember from before.
DAWN OF THE DEAD
Bro? I’m sorry.
28 WEEKS LATER
The monkeys. You don’t understand.
THEM
The city of Los Angeles is now under martial law.
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS
They’re coming. You’re next.
THE THING
Trust is a hard thing to come by these days.
IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS
That happened two chapters ago. Ha ha.
QUATERMASS AND THE PIT
Hobbs End is closed for good reason.
FIGHT CLUB
Your name is Tyler Durden.
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD
I know you’re in there. I can smell your brains.
THE TERMINATOR
And it will not stop until you are dead.
JAWS
But we delivered the bomb.
POLTERGEIST
This house is cleansed.
TWIN PEAKS
Where’s Annie?
NAKED LUNCH
Time for our William Tell act.
BLUE VELVET
Don’t you fucking look at me.
THE FLY
I’ll just find someone else to be my friend.
CHINATOWN
The future, Mr. Gittes. The future.
GODZILLA
It cannot be stopped.
VIDEODROME
Long live the new flesh.
THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK
Possible that it won’t stand the test of time.

Got the window, but not the shutter

Full Bleed 9
You’re already here, so why don’t you click once more to get to some real content. I’m still busy plotting out EATERS stuff that I should have plotted before I leaped into writing. But sometimes you have to make a misstep before you make a step.
Or something.

I asked her name and she said to me…

Zuda, Zu Zu Zu Zuuuu-daaaa
Zuda Comics | Click Here to Continue
Zudacomics went live yesterday. I checked it out, mostly, I’ll admit, to see “High Moon”, which on its face seems exactly like the cogent plot elements of my OGN MURDER MOON, only in color and in a webcomic. Oh yes, and to see “Bayou”, which I had high hopes for.
Let’s talk about the good. “Bayou” is the most fully realized of the offerings, with an intriguing setting/cast and charming art that I’m sure belies the real nature of the storyline. It’s the first continuing series to be named at Zuda, and deservedly so. I look forward to reading this as it continues.
“Dead in the Now” is also a good read, though you don’t read Rey’s work so much as you absorb it. It’s big, bold, energetic, unafraid to eat up page space, learning lessons from manga without simply aping the styles. There is story there, believe it or not, though it’s presented unadorned and unfettered. No messing around. I’ll be reading this as well, though I can see how some folks might not be digging it.
“High Moon” actually has some lovely art, but the story isn’t doing it for me. However, I’m biased since I’m gonna have to take grief for “hey, cowboys and werewolves, just like that Zuda comic.” “Leprenomicon” is intriguing, but I’m going to need more before I’m convinced.
“Alpha Monkey” has some vibrant art but doesn’t do much for me (though my son will probably dig it.) “Black Swan” suffers for having a distinctive look that is only used in flashbacks and not in the main storyline (which in and of itself is pretty average). I’d probably like “The Dead Seas” if I was in its target audience bracket (I’m not, by probably twenty-five years or more).
One of the biggest problems seems to be pacing for webcomic pages, and that’s a big one. It took me a long time to understand (some would argue that I don’t get it yet) how a page and a series of panels needs to flow for story/dialogue beats to work. It feels like too much is being packed into some of the strip pages (while some don’t have enough going on at all or following what is there is tricky.) This is a problem that is solvable.
I have to confess I’m not wild about the shockwave-based reader and inability to jump to a bookmarked page, for instance. I might have missed it, I’ll admit. But the interface can be changed once the content is placed.
The quality of the offerings is variable, either in the art or the writing (and yes, I know it’s unfair to judge writing on the basis of eight pages, sixteen in the case of “Bayou”. On the other hand, I knew that Cameron Stewart’s “Sin Titulo” was good on the basis of three pages, maybe four.) Granted, there’s no way I’m going to be enraptured with “The Dead Seas” or “The Enders” or “Raining Cats and Dogs”. They’re aimed at literally a different generation of readers. And there’s a chance that DC/Zuda will connect with some of them.
Costwise, there isn’t much to lose, from DC’s perspective. Sure, there’s page rates (I’m assuming that there are page rates), but a vastly reduced cost of production comes into play when playing on the digital ballfield. And that cost only drops after you’ve eaten the initial development (though I’d hope they’d spend a little money on a plain interface for mobile devices, etc.)
But please don’t ask me to make a prognostication as to how this is going to turn out. There’s some good stuff there, most of it’s readable (but largely not my thing), probably enough to keep people coming back, if the content comes in regularly and is updated often. Besides, DC shouldn’t be aiming this at me; they should be aiming this at folks who aren’t reading comics yet but could possibly be talked into it.