Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jack Kirby's Birthday

Happy Birthday Jack Kirby
(August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994)

I never got to wish him a happy birthday or thank him for his great work, before he passed away, so I'd like to here just show how and why he thrilled my comic book reading mind.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Press play/record

Simon Sweetman at Blog on the Tracks has an interesting lark: your life as a Mix Tape.

Here are his rules:

...take three songs from across the first three or four albums you ever owned. You add three songs from anything you considered formative at high-school. You add three more songs from university or early working days. You take three songs from anything you’ve liked across the last three years. And you take three songs that show the impact of other people ... Side one will be subtitled The Early Years and will feature the music from the first albums you bought, high-school and university or first job days (nine tracks in total). Side two can be called These Days and will feature six songs - the three from albums across the last three years and the three you’ve picked up from someone else’s influence.

Sakura_59 has put forward her mix, too. Both concluded that in effect their tapes were for “today” and would be different if you asked them tomorrow. These things are always capricious. In putting mine together I decided that it’s best not to over-think the list, and just go with what came to mind when dealing with each of Simon’s criteria. Below is the result.

Side one: Early Years

Let’s Dance, David Bowie (Let’s Dance)

Message to My Girl , Split Enz (Conflicting Emotions)

Girlfriend is Better, Talking Heads (live version from Stop Making Sense)

With or Without You , U2 (The Jushua Tree)

Orange Crush , REM (Green)

Elevate Me Later, Pavement (Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain)

That’s All You Wanted, Throwing Muses (University)

Fake Plastic Trees, Radiohead (The Bends)

Waitin’ for a Superman, The Flaming Lips (The Soft Bulletin)

Side two: These Days

Someone Great, LCD Soundsystem (Sound of Silver)

No Cars Go, Arcade Fire (Neon Bible)

Patins, CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy)

The Worst Taste in Music, The Radio Dept. (Pet Grief)

Pigeons, The Hundred in the Hands (The Hundred in the Hands)

Glass, Bat for Lashes (Two Suns)

The first side’s ‘Early Years’ was easiest to compile, and generally specific songs came to mind.

‘These Days’ was much more difficult. I decided to keep ‘side two’ to fairly recent releases, even though the three picked from the influence of others can come from any era. I listen to a lot of earlier stuff these days, but not generally from a particular person's suggestion.

Reviewing my selection, I realise how relatively conservative and, especially, how narrow my music taste generally has been. But it is what it is. Within those narrow confines, there’s certainly some quality there.

52 Chances to Learn to Love DC

I have an idea, and I need your help.

I grew up a Marvel kid. I knew at least a little about the big guys over at DC of course. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman mostly: the franchises that enjoyed success on TV and/or the big screen. The three of them were so recognizable that I always considered myself as rooting for the underdog by buying Marvel. Sure, Marvel had its household names but none of them were as iconic as the Big 3 of DC.

As I got older and stopped caring about any competitive urges between comic book companies, I still didn't stray much. There were doubtless a few reasons for that, but one of the big ones was that I simply knew the history of Marvel's cooperative universe better than that of DC.

DC hasn't made it easy for me. Precisely because of how widely recognized DC's heroes are, it has never made sense to me that DC's crossover events relied so heavily on the changes in status quo. Crisis On Infinite Earths is practically impenetrable without a good deal of knowledge about what came before, as is Infinite Crisis. When I was a part of Trouble With Comics and was invited to something of a roundtable discussion of Final Crisis, I never even considered it a possibility.

Maybe at this point DC will always be somewhat impenetrable to me. At least in the sense that it may never be possible for me to feel the same about a book like Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? as someone who read it only after reading Superman and Action Comics as a child. Not to mention that with the massive reboot approaching, the DCU's history is about to get a lot more confusing.

Regardless, I still want to try. Plus, I'm a blogger, and I need something to blog about.

So, here's my idea. I need you - comics bloggers, fans, readers, etc. - to help me out. What I need to do is get a list together of DC graphic novels (and by "graphic novels" I simply mean any reprint collection) that are important to the history of the DCU. Now, to be clear, I'm not looking for a "Best Of" list. I'm specifically looking for books that are important in understanding the history of the DCU, regardless of quality.

And once we get this list together, I'm going to read and review 52 of them here at Poplitiko.

I'm not going to read and review 52 of them right away. It will take a bit, but I'll get it done.

So, let's get started. What've you got for me?

-Mick Martin

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Interview with the creators of Corpus Christi: The Comic Book

I am a friend of Trent Westbrook, and was very excited to learn of his newest project. Then when I linked to it while on Facebook a couple people remarked to me, accused is closer to what they did, that it looked like "One of those Christian comics"... So I thought the best way to find out was to ask the creative team about their work.

For the record, I think having real life motives and desires and thoughts only make a work better, so if it is the case that the comic has Christians in it, I'd have no issues with that. However, there are some who might call this propaganda, and so, it is important to look at it, and ask if it is in fact such a thing.

I want to thank both of them, and wish them both great success.

Who is the book aimed at? Does it play better to a certain group of readers over others?

CORBIN DOUGLAS – I’d say the book definitely caters to the teen to adult crowd. It has some mature themes psychologically that I think anyone younger probably wouldn’t completely grasp. It’s basically a psycho-drama/suspense thriller disguised in a super hero format.
Where is the book available to purchase? Can it be ordered from you?

TRENT WESTBROOK - is our primary distributor of the book online. We ultimately plan to shop it around city by city, con by con in the future, but if you want the book before then, will be the place to go.

Here is the link

Tell us a short introduction to the story/characters...

CORBIN DOUGLAS – Barry Christiansen is our protagonist, a man that witnessed a murder when he was only 4 or 5 years old and somehow blames himself for that person’s death. He is cursed with visions of violent acts that are to take place and he takes it upon himself to try and stop the violence in an attempt at redemption.

The work makes thematic use of Christian names and characters, is that because the work is specifically Christian and if so would that not make the work thereby "propaganda"?

CORBIN DOUGLAS – We heard this very early after we began to promote the book online and I have to say nobody saw the “propaganda” label coming. Due to the nature of using the city of Corpus Christi as the setting, and ultimately as a character in the context (very much the same way Superman has Metropolis, Batman has Gotham, etc.), it seemed an obvious plot point to use the background of the city and it’s name as part of the narrative. Yes, it has a strong Christian thread running through the story, but so does the play Agnes of God. So does The Exorcist. So does the comic book Spawn, and I wouldn’t say any one of those pieces of entertainment could be accused of being Christian “propaganda”. It was laughable hearing the label, because I know of only a handful of people who have read this book and know what it is about, even past issue #1. Here was a label being dished out from a basically just a snapshot of what the book ultimately is.

What cultural influences were poured into the work?

TRENT WESTBROOK – A conscious effort was made to include landmarks of the actual city in the story and visuals to add to the idea of a modern myth. Comic heroes are literally our modern myths and one of the primary ideas for the project was to create a myth for the city; a myth where people can visit actual locations if they wanted and see where supposedly this story took place.

Who is publishing the work?

TRENT WESTBROOK – 2023 Comics is the banner we are working under. So far there are about 5 of us (writers, pencils and inks, colorists, musicians), all working on projects that we want complete creative control over as well as control on how they are presented and distributed to the public. It has a very indie band vibe to it that feels very liberating as well as exciting at the moment. We’re starting small and aren’t expecting much right out of the gate but at this point we aren’t too worried about that. We’ve found methods of presenting our work to people and that’s fine at this point.

What future projects do you have coming out?

CORBIN DOUGLAS – LECHUSA with 2023 Comics.

TRENT WESTBROOK – I have a lot lined up for the rest of the year at this point: EMPIRE OF STONE with writers Alex Ness and Josh Brown through their distribution is done and should be out the gate soon. Then secured with 2023 Comics is a samurai tale with writers Alex Ness and Jason Waltz; THE REPORTER by writer Steve Phillips and artist/co-creator Adam Webb; and issue #2 of CORPUS CHRISTI. I have one more project in the preliminary stages with another writer but I don’t want to announce that just yet. Stay tuned.

If you could have any creative talent write or draw a short story for the Corpus Christi book, who would you choose, and why?

TRENT WESTBROOK – I’ve always had in my mind Alex Maleev as the artist for CORPUS CHRISTI. All my work on the book so far has been primarily inspired by Maleev’s work on THE CROW titles and his run on volume 2 of DAREDEVIL.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Board Game News

Toxic Bag Announces New Sci-fi/horror Board Game

CHICAGO, IL (August 15, 2011) --Toxic Bag Productions announces its entry into the board game industry with its first product, titled SPACE MONSTER. SPACE MONSTER is a two-player card-driven board game that pits a group of human astronauts against a predatory extraterrestrial life form.

At the beginning of play, the SPACE MONSTER boards the ship in an embryonic stage and evolves throughout the game, becoming more difficult to kill as the turns progress. In addition to attempting to kill the crew, the monster can also destroy sections of the ship, forcing the human players to divide their efforts between defense and structural repair. The monster can win the game by either killing all seven members of the crew or damaging enough sections of the ship that it breaks apart. Adding the destruction of the ship as an alternate victory condition allows for varied strategies on the part of both players. The human player can use tools to effect repairs, construct weapons and trackers to hunt down the monster…or ultimately blow up the ship if all seems lost.

The SPACE MONSTER player constructs his/her monster from a selection of over 20 different attributes (offensive, defensive, or special abilities), providing new and different threats to the human player each game. This constantly changing monster, combined with 80 event cards driving game play, allows for infinite re-playability. No two games should ever be the same.

Game designer Steve Baldwin said, “This game is something I’ve always wanted to play and couldn’t find anywhere in the industry – so we decided to make it.”

Production of the game will be funded in part with P500-style pre-orders. SPACE MONSTER is currently in the play-testing stage.

Toxic Bag plans to start taking pre-orders in September, 2011. For more information, visit
Space Monster

Friday, August 12, 2011


Frosted window pane
Embers of a dead fire
become warm again