COMICS, Uncategorized

Free Comic Book-Less Day

fcbdFree Comic Book Day was today, and like many of us, I got excited and headed out to my friendly neighborhood comic shop to score some loot. The line at Heroes and Fantasies was crazy long and stretched all the way to the back of the building that houses the store.  I stood in line for a while and jawed with some fellow readers.  After about fifteen minutes, a woman came around to announce that the line was for the free comics only and if we wanted to shop we could just go inside.

At that point, I figured that I didn’t really need the freebies and headed inside to do a little shopping and see Zip Alegria and Eric Matos, two friends that have recently signed on with Guardian Knight Comics, a new publisher that recently sprung up in San Antonio.  I wanted to see just what they were up to and to wish them good luck in their new venture.  Along the way, I ran into some other friends, including comic artists Alfredo “Freddy” Lopez and David Hutchison.  I hadn’t seen a few of those folks in quite some time, and it was good to see what they were up to and shoot the breeze for a bit.  There were also lots of cool cosplayers dressed up as various characters and I had a lot of fun talking shop and seeing everyone have a good time.

While I suppose I could have snuck around and snagged a few books, I decided not to.  I already read comics, so Free Comic Book Day is ‘preaching to the choir’ as far as I’m concerned; those books are better off going to potential new readers.  While I went home empty-handed in terms of comics, I had a fun time, and isn’t fun what its all about?


Short Steampunk Subjects

Positively steamy!

I like things that are short.  Quite a few of my favorite types of media are short: theatrical cartoons, Three Stooges shorts, Aesop’s fables, and Isaac Asimov’s short stories, to name a few.  Curiously enough, my own writing consists mainly of short stories.

I initially kept my short stories to just one side of a page out of sheer habit, but as I write more I am finding myself becoming more comfortable with going beyond that self-imposed arbitrary limit.  Curiously enough, my very first short story came in at 12 pages, which I felt was way too long, so there’s that, too.

There’s just something about quickly getting to the point.  Sure, a one-page story doesn’t leave much room for character development, but it also means that a message can be delivered effectively without getting lost in the rest of the story.  It also leaves armchair psychologists with little room to to find deeper meaning in between the lines.

It may also explain why I enjoy comic books.  In addition to enjoying the exploits of Superman, the Green Lantern Corps and Mega Man each month, I have also taken a liking to the various Steampunk titles currently being printed by Antarctic Press.  In addition to artwork relating to the book’s theme featuring comely lasses, each one has also featured two or three short comic stories featuring the works of Rod Espinosa, Fred Perry, and other creators.

I really enjoy those short comics.  I read them, have a quick laugh or smile, and move on to other things.  But unlike the one-issue comic stories I discussed previously, which are ‘fire and forget,’ those short comics (especially Perry’s) have me wondering about just what happened before and after the story.  How did that Bad Guy end up as a pony?  Who ended up winning the Fairyland Steampocalypse? Just why did Dr. Frankensteam create her Monster?

I also wonder if I am being given glimpses of a bigger tale that has been untold, or are these the scattered pages of a work that is not yet done even in the creator’s mind?  Or perhaps, like myself, all they want to do is make a quick joke or point and move on without having to write a whole book.  I can certainly relate to that!





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Magnus Robot FIghter cover art

We barely knew you...AGAIN

Archie Comics is going to give a go at resurrecting their superhero characters again, but instead of handing the reins over to DC Comics again (as they did in the 90’s with !mpact Comics as well as more recently) they are going it alone this time under the also resurrected Red Circle Comics imprint.  The New Crusaders is going to feature a group of teen superheroes that pick up the mantle from their famous forebearers under the tutelage of The Shield.  Sounds like it could be a nice ‘light read’ to add to my virtual pull-box over at Comic, but I won’t be reading it.

I won’t be reading  it because I want Archie Comics to stay in business.  Seriously.

I have developed a knack for reading comics that just don’t last for very long and have even had entire companies go out from under me.  Here’s the hit list so far.

  • Tekno Comix
  • Malibu Comics/Ultraverse
  • Valiant Comics
  • Impact Comics
  • Dreamwave Productions

And the books:

  • ExoSquad (only one issue!)
  • Buck Rogers XXVc by TSR Comics
  • William Shatner’s TekWar (twice!  Once at Epic and another at Blue Water)
  • The Tick New Series
  • DC’s recent reboot of the Red Circle characters
  • Dark Horse’s reboot of Magnus Robot Fighter and Solar Man of the Atom

Those are just the ones I can name off the top of my head, I’m sure if I go through my comic boxes I can find the remains of other promising books that I had liked but in doing so also gave them the  kiss of death.

If I didn’t know any better, I think I just might be a supervillain.  But yeah, I actually like Archie Comics and I’m already pressing their luck by reading their current Mega Man comic, so I don’t want to tempt fate even more.  Just sayin’.



Godzilla Legends #1 Cover


I added Godzilla Legends to my pull box (or whatever Comic Break calls it) mainly out of curiosity.  The series was supposed to feature some of the other giant stars of the Godzilla universe.  I had never read a Godzilla comic before and except for watching “Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla” at the first Fanboy Flix a few months ago, I haven’t seen a movie starring Japan’s mean green machine in years.  Thus, I am hardly an expert in regards to the care and feeding of giant monsters, or ‘kaiju’ to use the proper term.  Despite that, I thought I’d give it a shot.

I got my first issue a few weeks later.  It was a fun read and Matt Frank’s art provided plenty of monster mashing action.  But there was something different waiting for me at the end of the comic.

It was the end of the story.  One and done.  That was it.  No cliffhanger or big reveal or plot twist to coax me into buying the next issue in 30 days.  Instead, there would be a completely new story with a new monster in the next issue.  I had no commitment to keep, I could stop where I was at and not spend the rest of my days wondering if Godzilla and Anguirus ever kissed and made up.

I kept the subscription and a month later, the second issue dropped.  I read it, enjoyed it, and eagerly waited for each new one to arrive.  There was something about reading a single issue of a comic book with a self-contained story that I had not experienced in years.  It took me back to when I read comics as a kid, before multi-issue story arcs and epic crossovers turned comics into big soap operas.  Seriously, even the new Mega Man comic I’m reading goes from one arc to the next, and that one is published by Archie Comics.

It is easy to write off the feeling as nostalgia, but what I really miss is the anticipation of not knowing what is coming in the next issue.  If I am reading a comic that ends with a cliffhanger, then I’m left spending the next month or so guessing just what is going to happen next.  If the story I’m reading comes to a complete end, though, I have no idea what is going to be in that next book.

I like that.  It’s sometimes fun to not know.


Lights! Camera! NERDS! presents Fanboy Flix at the Drafthouse

Arrive early, or sit behind Galactus!

If you want to get your nerd on in the Alamo City, the Alamo Drafthouse theaters feature free showings of various nerdy movies on a regular basis.  With exception of “Anime at the Alamo” these all take place once a month.

First, there is ‘Anime at the Alamo’ sponsored by the folks at Funimation which happens every Monday night at the Westlakes location.  I haven’t been to this one in awhile because there are a load of Mystery Science Theater 3000 wannabees constantly blabbing throughout the movie and they completely ruin the experience for me.’s ‘Fanboy Flix’ brings us various geeky movies from years gone by.  This happens at the Stone Oak location and often features local guest artists.

The San Antonio Neo-Victorian Association gives us “Steampunk Night” for those of us whose pasttime happens to be the future past (ba-doom, tissh!).  Expect lots of really cool costumes and vendors at these events held at the Park North location.

For the Whovians among you, Doctor Who Fans Unite gives us Doctor Who night at the Stone Oak location.  Be sure you’re on time!

The Alamo Drafthouse is a great place to watch movies; and these events are a great chance to enjoy your favorite movies and shows on the big screen.  If you decide to go to one of these events be sure to get there early, because there are often things going on beforehand and the theaters do fill up.


Random Review: Batman: Gotham Knight

I’m a big fan of superheroes in general, but Batman has been my favorite ever since the first Tim Burton movie. Outside of the atrocious “Batman and Robin” I’d have to say I’ve liked all of the movies and TV shows, and he kicked all kinds of ass in the Justice League animated series.

Needless to say, this means that the new straight-to-video Gotham Knight movie was a Day One purchase for me. The fact that Superman:Doomsday and Justice League:New Frontier rocked made it all the easier. All I knew was that it was going to be a series of shorts done by different directors that formed one long story, and some of those directors were going to be from Japan. Would it be called Batmanime then? In any event, the story seems to take place around the time of Batman Begins, before Batman is really established in Gotham City.

The first segment featured a bunch of kids exchanging their stories of how they ran across Batman during the same day. At first the episode “P.O.V.” came to mind, but the twist here is that we literally get to see Batman through the descriptions and imaginations of the kids, which was pretty cool. Needless to say, none of them come even close to the real thing. The overall look reminded me of Aeon Flux somewhat, but without having the super-skinny characters. The ending got a good laugh out of me, and I enjoyed this segment.

The second segment focuses on the Gotham City PD, with a pair of detectives playing “clean up” after Batman, as they take a perpetrator to jail. One trusts Batman, the other does not, its pretty straightforward stuff, but the visuals were pretty cool. Instead of being just a prison, Arkham Asylum is now literally an island of madness, and there are some pretty awesome views of Batman. Not too bad, the visual kickassery makes up for the by-the-numbers plot.

On to segment three, this one looks more anime-ish, to me, at least. The first thing that struck me as odd is Bruce Wayne looks about 20 years younger than he sounds, Kevin Conroy’s voice just does not seem to fit the character’s appearance. Aside from that, a good piece featuring Lucius Fox and Bruce Wayne, very reminiscent of Batman Begins.

Halfway done, and I like what I’ve seen so far. Our two detectives briefly return in the fourth segment (I wonder if they’re in the upcoming movie?) as we see Batman tracking down a kidnapper. Some freaky stuff goes down in this one, not much story to talk about, just Batman kicking ass and taking names to some pretty awesome visuals.

Flashbacks rule the day in the fifth segment, as we see Batman at the end of a pretty rough day. There is a interesting story that is told, though, and I have to say this has been my favorite segment so far.

Last one to go, the look is more Western, and Batman is up against an adversary the likes of which I certainly haven’t seen before…I haven’t really spoiled much yet, but this should be good…and it FARKING KICKED ASS.

I’d say overall the movie is worth watching for the casual Bat-watcher, but a definite buy for fans. Gotham Knight has some great visuals and while a few segments don’t have much to offer story-wise, the package as a whole works. It has something different to offer but it takes a look at sides of Batman that we don’t normally see.