Aaron Dembski-Bowden is back!
0. Looking Back in order to Move Forward One of the more interesting developments in superhero comics has been the growing popularity of comics that take familiar characters and transplant them into unfamiliar historical contexts. Though this type of postmodern speculative exercise has been around in one form or another since the Silver Age, the… Continue reading DC: THE NEW FRONTIER… Stripp’d
Food is the archetypal First World problem. While some parts of the world starve and other parts are turned inside out by our demand for low-cost and low-fuss supplies of exotic and increasingly refined foodstuffs, the West is growing increasingly alienated and distant from the things that it eats.
She’s new, I’m the re-reader. She’s the newbie, I’m the spoilery vet. Together She’s g-mashin’ George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting here POV on. Today she moves on to Chapter 19, a Jon Snow POV chapter. You can also read my interview with George R. R. Martin if it pleases you
She’s new, I’m the re-reader. She’s the newbie, I’m the spoilery vet. Together She’s g-mashin’ George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting here POV on. Today she moves on to Chapter 18, a Catelyn Stark POV chapter. You can also read my interview with George R. R. Martin if it pleases you
Back in 1987 fans of G.I. Joe got an animated film that has gone on to become a pretty divisive movie during a time which was probably the height of or toward the end of the height of the popularity for the G.I. Joe brand. Much like the Transformers animated film from the previous year… Continue reading G.I. Joe Rawhides – 30 Years Later, the G.I. Joe Animated Movie
o, who would you rather have operating just outside the law to protect your city? Batman or Rorschach? Discuss!
I have a set of bright memories associated with various of Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels: Sitting, aged 13, grief-stricken and sobbing in a cold bath having finished “The Darkest Road”, the final weft in his Fionavar Tapestry; drooping in my early morning lectures five years later having welcomed in the dawn with the last page… Continue reading Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay Review
The question on everyone’s lips, which we humbly seek to answer today, “Which is the better ridiculous mode of transportation, Shai-Hulud from Frank Herbert’s Dune series, or Falkor the Luck Dragon from The Neverending Story?
This week we seek to answer that most pressing of questions: Which is the better sci-fi/fantasy pet? Spot from Star Trek: The Next Generation, or Oy from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series?
There is consolation in conspiracy. Whenever something terrible happens, humans look for answers and they don’t stop looking even when they have found them: It wasn’t Oswald who killed Kennedy, it was the mob or the commies, or the CIA. It wasn’t a drunk driver who killed Princess Diana; it was British Intelligence and the… Continue reading The Chimpanzee Complex… Stripp’d
Some would say that beautiful lives bloom only in the shadow cast by death. But while this may very well be true, how could we ever know for sure? Statements like this one and Plato’s ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’ are supposed to be useful and practical advice that help us to determine… Continue reading Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit… Stripp’d
I’ve long believed Warren Ellis is a crime-fiction writer at heart. The first series of Wolfskin was a clear example of sword-and-sorcery comics, but had that distinct Yojimbo/Fistful of Dollars feel, a dyed-in-the-wool crook playing both sides. Comics like Aetheric Mechanics and Captain Swing are solid steampunk works, yet revolve around cops-and-robbers shenanigans. One of the driving tenets of our work here at… Continue reading Whitechapel Squad: The Detective Comics of Warren Ellis
I. Introduction II. The Holy Trinity – Chester Himes, Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines III. Gone, Forgotten and Waiting for Discovery – Robert Deane Pharr & Clarence Cooper Jr. IV. The Best of the Rest V. Lost to History – Jerome Dyson Wright & Charlie Avery Harris VI. The tip of the Iceberg (but not… Continue reading Black Crime Fiction: An Introduction
Comic book nerds are easy targets. Fish in a barrel and on crutches, to boot. Not to put too fine a point on it, but going to down to comics conventions and making fun of grown men dressed in tights or in Klingon make-up is not unlike heckling the Special Olympics. Maybe it’s less guilt-inducing,… Continue reading Arrivederci, Eltingville
Empire in Black and Gold is the debut of British author Adrian Tchaikovsky and the first installment in a trilogy titled Shadows of the Apt. In his debut Tchaikovsky gives us a heroic narrative where a small group of travellers offer resistance against overwhelming odds – a narrative pattern typical of epic fantasy. Empire in… Continue reading Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky Review
Back in the nineties, I had the pleasure of working with Charlie Adlard on Topp’s The X-Files comic. Ages later, the man who draws The Walking Dead was kind enough to spend some time catching up on Skype. And it all went something like this… Stefan: I leave you alone a while, and you’re surrounded… Continue reading Charlie Adlard Interview – Portrait of the Artist as a Walking Dead Man
So you’ve finally met a girl who seems cool. Outlook: positive…except that you can’t figure out how to suss out her level of nerdery without offending her or seeming even geekier than you are by running through every conceivable point of geekiness she might secretly have. Well, you’re in luck, because the graphic novel series… Continue reading The Scott Pilgrim Girlfriend Test
One could argue that the enduring popularity of genre motifs is a direct result of the death of God. Prior to the Enlightenment, the people of the ancient and medieval worlds knew their place. They knew that there were gods and demons, monsters and spirits. They knew that the good things in life could be… Continue reading Phonogram… Stripp’d
… ahhh classic VALIANT.
I will admit that I’m pretty easy to please but this thing looks better than I could have imagined. I’d consider myself very well entrenched in the world(s) of Terry Brooks, including and perhaps mostly his Shannara output, even though I’m not a mega fan in that way being a The Lord of the Rings… Continue reading Back to Amberle & Brooks’ The Elfstones – MTV’s Shannara Chronicles Trailer
A lot things happened in last week’s episode that people want to talk about a lot more — and oddly I think that particular one was one of the better shot, edited, and acted scenes in a episode that was otherwise kind of a disaster — but I wanted to go into some other directions, namely that of a… Continue reading Judging Jorah Mormont as Daenerys Targaryen’s Champion
Back to Game of Thrones as a lot of people read my Ten Things about Dorne and House Martell and a similar post about House Stark so I thought it might be worthwhile to go back to Westeros and do something similar around for the HBO watchers. I’ve been reading George R.R. Martin’s A Song… Continue reading Ten Things About House Targaryen for Game of Thrones Fans
America has always been crazy about serial killers. They’re our homegrown werewolves. They click with the fast-food car culture that roars in the country’s busy, busy heart. They fit neatly with our cult-of-celebrity-style national mythology. These beasts that seem like men, mowing through victims like McDonald’s cheeseburgers, speeding for the televised takedown by John Q.… Continue reading The Evolution of the Serial Killer
Arrow, the WB action television series, starring Stephen Amell’s abs, based on the DC comic book series, Green Arrow, recently debuted and has now been picked up for a full season. Honestly, I haven’t seen the show yet, and had little intention to do so after what I felt looked like a lacklustre trailer. However,… Continue reading Real = Angst – The Grim ‘N’ Gritty Trend Of The Non-Powered Superhero
Booze and crime goes hand in hand like booze and being hugely attractive and winning in life. I am drinking while writing this, because something something simpatico and shit. After speaking with my editor about the topic of this week’s column, I was told “Liam, you’re a pathetic drunk, either clean up your act, or… Continue reading Boozed Up And Beaten Down: Noir, Realism, And Alcohol
Near Death is one of the spate of high-quality comic books Image has been cranking out over the past couple of years, and I finally did myself the favor of reading it. Of course, now it appears the series has gone on hiatus just as I am getting on board (sad trombone). Fingers crossed that… Continue reading My Name Is Markham – The TV Sensibilities of NEAR DEATH
Eight noir novels to help fill your endless summer with a sense of overwhelming dread and paranoia. Okay, so I’m the professor who wakes up three weeks before the end of the semester and hits everybody over the head with a pile of mandatory reading assignments that everybody has to crowbar in between midnight finals… Continue reading Books Punch Your Face – The Crime Midsummer Reading List
In part 9 of THE NAIL THAT STICKS OUT, we delve into the case of Lucie Blackman, the gaijin hostess who never left Roppongi alive.
Director Oliver Stone is bringing Don Winslow’s SAVAGES to the big screen. But will it be any good? “Bet.” Don Winslow’s 2010 novel Savages is one of those books you chide yourself for not reading sooner, even if you were able to get your hands on an ARC in ’09. The drug-dealing anti-hero(es) and the… Continue reading Odds That Oliver Stone’s SAVAGES Will Be Any Good?
A few months back, I ploughed through Jungle Street by Don Elliott. Elliott (the pseudonym of SF master Robert Silverberg) wrote numerous smutty novels (such as Escape To Sindom, Sex Gang and Party Girl), the kind which once flooded the market with their lurid pulp covers of half-naked buxotics either frolicking with strapping young men or running from them.
It all depends on how you choose to view it: Fatale is a crime comic. It features square-jawed tough guys making goo-goo eyes at beautiful dames with curling, jet-black tresses and fine suits and shotguns and embittered, trench-coat wearing cops and broad-shouldered goons.
I think that I found my voice—or at least my confidence—when I was a graduate screenwriting student at UCLA. Although I had been writing for a number of years, it was at UCLA that I pushed myself and understood and accepted failure as a positive possibility. Good writing is ambitious. Which means that good writers… Continue reading The Art of Going Too Far – Johnny Shaw Guest blog
If you wander around a second hand book shop and start leafing through old history textbooks you will rapidly notice that history used to be nothing but stories about men with beards and top hats. Looking back on this state of affairs, we can now see that one of the reasons for this is that… Continue reading Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story… Stripp’d
I walked away from watching The Rum Diary with feelings as dichotomous as the two halves of the film. The first half is what the film appears to be in the trailers, while the second is a fairly serious take on corruption and the censorship of news by those who control what is printed. Neither part… Continue reading Johnny Depp’s THE RUM DIARY Is Like Two Movies in One – REVIEW
Speaking simply in terms of narrative possibility, Batman is the writer’s best friend. A skillful wordsmith armed with this brooding pulp titan could spin an infinite number of genre-spliced yarns and never would the plot-well run dry.
In a story entitled “The Human Chair,” an anonymous, physically repulsive furniture maker builds a large, beautiful chair that he can climb in and out of to enjoy the sensuous delights of having woman of all physical types sit on him. When the chair—with him inside it, of course—is moved to a luxurious hotel, he… Continue reading Edogawa Rampo: The Godfather of Japanese Crime Fiction
0. The Challenge of Escapism Like Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption (1994), we live our lives obsessed by thoughts of escape. Escape from our jobs, escape from our relationships, escape from our friends and escape from a life dominated by work, travel and a raging torrent of TV dinners and talent shows that carries… Continue reading Ludwig II… Stripp’d
Okay, so here’s the thing… I started in on the sixth volume of Ooku: The Inner Chambers without bothering to re-read either the previous volumes in the series or my thoughts on those five books. As a result, I spent most of my reading time trying to remember who the various characters were and what… Continue reading Ooku: The Inner Chambers – Volume 6
Though not billed as such, this book is the last part of an unofficial trilogy. Battle of the Fang effectively bridges the story begun in McNeill’s A Thousand Sons and Abnett’s Prospero Burns to the ‘present’ of the 40K universe. A thousand years has passed since the bloody end of the Horus Heresy, and the… Continue reading Battle of the Fang by Chris Wraight Review
The extremely talented author James Rollin is with me today to talk about his latest Sigma Force novel, the 7th in the series, The Devil Colony. Was America originally supposed to have 14 instead of 13 colonies? Who is a largely forgotten Founding Father whom you probably have never heard about in school? Did the… Continue reading The Devil Colony | James Rollins Interview
After what seemed two clunky beginning issues, Cerebus hit its early stride with the introduction of Red Sophia, and it built from there. Over the course of the next ten issues, Sim’s ability to see to the heart of whatever subject he was skewering served him well. And it was a skewer, make no mistake;… Continue reading Return to Cerebus, cried the Earth-Pig Born! Part the Second
I’ve occasionally suggested to those who know me best, and subsequently to those who know me to be a terrible human being with few redeeming factors past my ability to imitate Hugo Weaving, that the only part about being an author I truly regret is the fact that I can’t enjoy internet meltdowns like I once could.
Sucker Punch is possibly the most spectacular failure I’ve seen in a while. It’s certainly ambitious, it’s got lots to praise, but there are far too many efforts falling flat or possibly offending for it to be considered a success. Aside from its merits or lack thereof, I want to look into what this movie… Continue reading Sucker Punch – A Study On The State Of Comics
Comics are all about beautiful people. Find me a leading character who isn’t physically desirable and I’ll find you a comic I either don’t know or it isn’t selling. This is an aesthetic medium and the main players need to catch our eye. This is why I find it so interesting the lead character in… Continue reading Square Jawed Heroes – The Aesthetics of Who Is Jake Ellis?
Marvel Studios have had a lot of success at the box office lately, especially with the Iron Man movies, and they obviously plan to have a lot more success in the coming years with a busy slate of production. The latest offering is Thor. Is it going to be a success? Damn straight, and for… Continue reading Thor – Movie Review: A Study In Universe Expansion
Aaron Dembski-Bowden bringing his cannons to canon. Also his warhammer.
The Christian conception of redemption is an oddly commercial one. Grounded in Old Testament talk of ransoming the slaves, redemption is presented as a transaction through which Christians pay off their debt to God and buy back their freedom from sin. Indeed, Christ is said to have redeemed mankind by suffering on the cross, thereby… Continue reading Universal War One… Stripp’d
Part the First Dave Sim is not dead.
Embedded is Abnett’s second independent novel for Angry Robot Books and one of the most original and compelling SF stories I’ve read in quite some time. In fact, I’m drawn to a grossly overused cliché to describe my experience because it happens to be, well, true: I couldn’t put the damn thing down!
George R. R. Martin has us in Bran dreams in our reread this week and we are talking the heart of winter and other things We know nothing about.
I’ve been meaning to review this little beauty for a while, so, straight to business. Iron Company was Chris Wraight’s first Black Library novel and yet somehow managed to tick almost all the boxes for Warhammer fantasy writing. As my first review for Boomtron made clear, this isn’t something to be taken for granted. Iron… Continue reading Iron Company by Chris Wraight – Review
At the end of volume one of Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ooku: The Inner Chambers, the Shogun Yoshimune asks an elderly monk to explain to her “the logic of the present custom” of using male honorifics and titles to refer to female nobles. After all, if women run the country while men are expected to do little… Continue reading Ooku: The Inner Chambers – Volume 5
With the opening volumes of Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Fumi Yoshinaga attempts to answer the question of why it is that a culture’s values do not automatically keep step with its demographics. For example, why would a version of Edo-period Japan in which 75% of the male population had been wiped out by a terrible… Continue reading Ooku: The Inner Chambers – Volume 4
My burgeoning affiliation with the All New! All Different! Boomtron, with its Ooku reviews and its Sandman Meditations and its other various lovingly crafted commentaries, comes with the knowledge that I am lacking in … well, knowledge. And it isn’t even the sort of knowledge your average Jim-Bob on the street would see as significant. Unfortunately, it’s… Continue reading Show Me Your Lightning Bolt!
Even in a fantasy world we join forces in our Game of Thrones reread to hate anyone who kills our puppies.
Volume One of Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ooku: The Inner Chambers posed a question of both its world and ours. That question was why there is such a thing as gender inequality when gender inequality is so manifestly absurd. Yoshinaga asks this question by having her characters delve into the past of a fictional Edo-period Japan in… Continue reading Ooku: The Inner Chambers – Volume 3
The notion of the sidekick has been a popular one in story-telling since time out of mind, yet it has most likely been brought to its highest prominence in superhero comics. The majority of these sidekicks, like Batman’s Robin, have been cheeky teenagers, created in order to act not only as foil for the hero,… Continue reading Run, Micro, Run
Sansa Stark sees the world of Westeros in a much different way as her siblings and we dive into her first POV of this reread of A Song of Ice and Fire.
The First Volume of Ooku: The Inner Chambers ends with the newly installed Shogun asking a question of an elderly monk. This question, though apparently simple, cuts straight to the heart of her kingdom, her culture, her history and her identity:
The first Phonogram mini landed and people weren’t sure what to believe. Here was a comic about music that talked about lyrics and music instead of writing and art. It didn’t feature a cape in sight and it was black and white. It sat as almost the definition of an independent comic on the stands.… Continue reading Phonogram: Singles Club 4 – Konichiwa Bitches | Top Single Issues
0. A Statement of Subject and Method Fumi Yoshinaga’s Eisner Award-nominated and James Tiptree Jr. Award-winning series Ooku: The Inner Chambers is a multi-volume manga series set in an alternative version of Medieval Edo Period Japan in which a terrifying plague has wiped out 75% of the male population. Using this fictional event as a… Continue reading Ooku: The Inner Chambers – Volume 1 (2009)
Catelyn Stark does Catelyn Stark things and me and Elena just can’t in this chapter of our Game of Thrones reread.
More Tyrion as we go up North to see the Wall and realize Tyrion is a fan of fantasy in this chapter of our Game of Thrones reread.
Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark won a kingdom together. Which of them will out dumb the other to lose it all amidst all the Lannisters?
We are invited to a wedding by George R. R. Martin and Drogo and Daenerys are the lucky young couple. Emilia and Momoa. Goddamn fine people.
Our Game of Thrones Reread has brought us to a crossroads, where Stark farewells occur, as we travel north and south, to the wall, and to court.
Tyrion Lannister enters the Game of Thrones reread, thus beinning the epic journey of a dwarfs who casts a giant kingly shadow.
Things are going down as in this Bran chapter we get our first GRRM cliffhanger in Game of Thrones – and we all fall down.
Since I missed the in-production teaser when it aired during the Countdown to True Blood on Sunday, I had to watch it on HBO’s website. Which meant that I also read the introduction by the producers (thank goodness there were no obvious spoilers in there, even if they did reference things that haven’t quite happened… Continue reading A Glimpse of Winter Falling – Game of Thrones
We get our first Arya Stark POV chapter and get great Stark family interaction with her and Jon and her and Sansa in this edition of our Game of Thrones reread
We disect and discuss the husband wifey relationship between Ned and Catelyn Stark, opportunity, and parenting in Game of Thrones.
Our first POV Jon Snow chapter offers us the classic first meeting of Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister in our Game of Thrones combo reread. Of Bastards and Dwarfs!
Two brothers from another mother reunite in the first Ned Stark chapter of our aSoIaF reread. And Jay loves Bobby Baratheon?
We get introduced to Daenerys Targaryen in Chapter 3 of our Game of Thrones reread. She has 99 problems and her brother is #1.
Info dumps! We meet the king through Catelyn Stark’s eyes and see a reunion between two old friends in Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon.
Puppies! The Starks get direwolves and miss ominous symbolism of wolf and stag in the Bran Stark Chapter 1 reread of A Game of Thrones.
Waymar Royce stylish in his winter gear! Kicking of the two person combo reread of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones of with the prologue.
I thought Eclipse was the best of the three movies so far, though not by as large a margin over New Moon as New Moon was over Twilight. New director David Slade retained the same look established by the first installment and continued, for better or worse (in my opinion worse) by the second. The only… Continue reading Twilight: Eclipse | movie review
Jodelle Ferland is the young actress playing Bree Tanner in Twilight: Eclipse. She’s got a resume a mile long already, even though she’s not even sixteen, and it includes working with heavyweights like Terry Gilliam and Jeff Bridges and on movies like Silent Hill and The Messengers , which pretty much everyone who likes horror… Continue reading Twilight with Jodelle Ferland | Interview
Kick-Ass lives up to its name. Best movie I’ve seen at the theater in months. I had pretty high hopes going in–all the bad reviews I saw were focused on how violent it was, which just made me more excited–and sometimes that kind of anticipation makes the actual movie experience a let-down. Not so in this… Continue reading Kick-Ass | movie review
Medora was kind enough to point me in the direction of this news item and it was a tough call between BSCkids and this site, but in the end I felt it belonged here. Disney has optioned the rights to Lauren Kate’s young adult novel Fallen that heavily features angels. Some believe that vampires and… Continue reading Disney options Lauren Kate’s Fallen novel
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is an epic catastrophe on every level, a confluence of poor ideas, poorer execution, and blinding stupidity. When faced with a celluloid abomination of this magnitude, a person must look back in time to the benchmark of horrible comic book film, Batman Forever, to find proper comparison. This movie is worse, attempting… Continue reading ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ | Movie Review
While often times I think fans of comics and thus their creators are a bit too preoccupied with the same ailment that some Fantasy and Science Fiction writers and tend to trade the walking stick for the mirror often and further, stand so close they fog up the picture. Thus my conclusion is that one… Continue reading Brian K. Vaughan The Escapists – Shared Worlds, Our Own Golden Age