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The Next Big Project: The Comic Book Reading Adventure of 2015/2016 (Also Book Reading)

As I’ve been falling extremely behind in my reading lately I am going to set myself a goal for the rest of the year, to read at least one TPB, Graphic Novel, or Three Comics a day. See sometimes when I get lost in a bunch of things and start projecting, I start getting distracted and falling behind on my reading and so forth. So in turn that makes me a cranky Wesley and I don’t like falling behind on my reading. Now this is becoming a concerted effort as I want to make this happen so this is going to happen come heck or high water. Besides it’ll give me something for sure to write about every day and make sure that I don’t fall off task off of anything else. I am going to make sure I do some novel reading too as I have on my Habitica to read 50-100 pages of a novel a day and I’ve been falling off track with that tremendously. I was doing good for a bit but I had a couple rough days and fell off track and now I am getting back on that track. I don’t give up, I may stumble but I never give up. That’s the plan from now on. I know there’s a chance I’ll have a couple days where it’ll stumble but I know I can do this and announcing it on the blog here will help in making sure I don’t stumble at least too much anyway.

Think of it as a Goodreads challenge just chronicled on my blog in an organized fashion. Then throughout 2016 I’ll be doing the same updating along with my Goodreads account once the new challenge hits. Some of this stuff is for other projects I want to do, others are just stuff I’ve been wanting to read and will probably end up writing about anyway. Heck I fully plan on writing about my entire 2016 reading challenge next year, that’s going to be a big one for me. Next year is going to be a major one for me and this is just part of what I’m up to for it. Besides I got a lot of cool comics and whatnot I want to read. Heck if I get lost in a good novel then heck I may even try my hand at a book review, hey you never know.

Yep that’s the plan for the foreseeable future. I’m allowing myself wiggle room as we have holidays coming up and so forth so I expect a little bit of stumbling here and there. I’ll do my best though and I know I can do it. Once I put something out there, I am more apt to do it as people can read it and hold me to task. Not too mean though, like I said I expect to have days where I get busy. Maybe I’ll even set up small update blogs day by day to let you all know what I’m reading. Yeah that’ll be fun. You all get to join me along for the day by day of it, the meat and potatoes of the Comic Book Reading Adventure.

This should be a lot of fun and I hope you all join me for the ride. Part one in a longer and more exciting journey ahead. Thanks for reading and take care everyone.

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The Library Adventures: An exploration into Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard

I recently got Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard from my local library on a whim as it looked interesting to me. The story of it is about a man named Mike who is having a rough time finding work as a carpenter around town. Mike wants to be able to do something for his son Cam’s birthday and gets a mysterious cardboard box from a seller on the side of the road. From the most terrible birthday present imaginable to a wild adventure unlike anything this father and son imagined, this is Cardboard. The cover shows an idea of the imagination at hand here because when you’re a kid and you get a cardboard box, it is a sign of infinite possibilities. Which is why TenNapel’s story plays on this aspect and takes it to a new level of imagination unleashed. If you’re curious about his name he’s one of the creators of Earthworm Jim and the recent release Amikrog. It’s weird I never heard much about it back in 2012 or I just wasn’t paying attention to it, likely I somehow missed the reviews. I’m glad I got to read it finally as now I get a fun little story to talk about in Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard.

One thing I noticed about Cardboard is the book reads quickly and that’s not bad as the intended audience for this is kids. It’s totally all ages though and you’ll be able to pick it up in no time. Mike and his son Cam are good characters and a lot of fun to see how they handle the cardboard box and just how powerful this big box really is. I can see this easily being an animated movie as some of the creations from this box look and beg to be animated as much as they look great on the page. TenNapel’s art is beautiful with lots of great animated faces, creations, and fantastic visuals. I think the villain of the piece Marcus is a strange egg in TenNapel’s writing, overall it’s the rich brat character mixed in with Spike from Toy Story. It might possibly be a form of Spike from Toy Story with a level of sympathy that Spike never got to have, it’s weird. It balances out through by the end of the story but it still doesn’t take away from how likable Cardboard is.

The creation of Bill the Boxer in Cardboard is a cool idea and hints at the cool visuals to come. Whenever this comic becomes an animated series or even a movie I think kids are going to go cardboard box crazy. I really did like this book and I think if I read it as a kid I would have dug it and even adult Wesley likes this book too, so a good example of a nice all ages comic. It’s well worth checking out, not sure if I’d ever really want to own it but definitely worth reading. Thank you local library for letting me check out another neat adventure into the comic book world.

A Thought Process on Out of Print Comic Collections and The Options to Get These Books

I woke up this morning to a question about why certain collections at DC Comics go out of print. Especially ones with Barry Allen, Wonder Woman, and other characters that you think would never go out of print. That’s something I’ve always pondered too as I remember seeing the Secret Six books for example go out of print for a long time until the new collections. Sometimes certain books go out of print because they’re planning a deluxe edition of a book, new collections adding more material, omnibuses, and sometimes a book just goes out of print for no good reason. It’s the same with Marvel too. Heck if it is a book that doesn’t have a wide appeal and gets reprinted, I’d recommend getting that as it will end up going out of print. The really niche stuff that gets reprinted I find goes out of print before you know it. Don’t even get me started on Humanoids, seriously that company if you don’t pre-order those suckers they’re out of print faster than you can blink. Seems to me they’re trending more towards digital collections nowadays though so at least that much, that’s cool at least.

For most collections at a comic company, they’re pretty much a lock to stay in print for awhile. Now with Marvel and DC there’s usually the HC (Hardcover) then after awhile the TPB (Trade Paperback) hits after that. Now with most books say Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, and so forth, they will never ever go out of print. Same with Marvel as they have their collections that will never go out of print too, Civil War for example. Of course the one factor with DC and Marvel is they both do have robust digital options that if you don’t mind a digital copy of a book, you can get it that way. Marvel has Marvel Unlimited so you can also read a lot of out of print stuff that way too. Same with most companies now if you can’t get a certain book in print, you can usually get it digitally via Comixology, Amazon, or other digital comic selling companies out there.

At least now there are ways to get books that are out of print. Back in the day if a book fell out of print you were going to be doing some hunting. Heck there are still many books that aren’t available digitally so you still have to do some hunting for certain series out there. Good luck in your out of print trade hunting adventures, hopefully I made it a little easier. A good question on twitter led to me writing this and was this ever a fun thought process to go on.

The Reading Adventure Day One: Girl in Dior by Annie Goetzinger

Girl in Dior NBMAs I play catch up through my backlog of reading in my reading adventures I start with Girl in Dior by Annie Goetzinger. I happened to see this on display as I was about to leave the library and decided to pick it up. See @KatieScarlett94 was talking about it on twitter as she got it at SPX so I got curious. Today was a laundry day so I had some time to burn and decided to read it. Wow was that a good decision on my part as Girl in Dior is amazing, amazing I tell you! It’s about Clara who ends up getting into Christian Dior’s first fashion show to write about it in 1947. Then through events ends up becoming one of his models and what follows is one magical journey. It’s mesmerizing to read as Goetzinger uses the actual events surrounding Christian Dior and his company and talks about the history of it. Clara herself is fictional but she’s the guide to the amazing story. I saw Goetzinger’s art initially and fell in love as the art is drop dead gorgeous. Seriously if the art doesn’t at least get you curious, the story will end up hooking you. I’ve never followed fashion but with a story as good as this, you can’t help but get compelled.

What’s cool about this book is after you’re finished you have all the research Goetzinger did going into this. You can learn more about Christian Dior and his fashion after the fact. Not going to lie I am a little curious. Girl in Dior explores the personalities and process that goes into getting everything together. You see what 1947 was like in the fashion world and what a time of transition it was. That caught my eye as I wasn’t really familiar with that side of things. I like learning and that caught my attention. Clara herself as such a likable character gets you invested that much more in the world. Then you learn about Christian Dior and get an idea of what he was like, it’s really cool. I loved every moment of this comic and it is a read to get lost in. Between a lovely story and excellent art, you can’t help but feel time pass by as you read through Girl in Dior.

If you’re curious in getting it for yourself it is published by NBM Publishing and you can get it from Amazon, local comic store, Comixology, bookstores, and likely even your local library. Read it and see you what you think. I’m glad I got to read this and hope when you all out there read it you’ll enjoy it too.

And now for something completely different! Storytelling thoughts

This is something that popped in my head as I was watching the new Jesse Stone movie tonight. The one before it was a slog like nothing I’d ever seen before. Something along those lines of I was falling asleep and I can only tell you just enough to remember the last movie was poorly paced. This movie however was a whole different story in which you actually got a bit more invested into the story itself and the pacing was so much stronger. You could appreciate further as to what the movie had to say and in turn you wanted to keep watching. Initially I was just going to watch a piece of it at a time but as I got to watching I found myself watching the whole movie in one go. Interestingly enough it does get me to thinking about other things that have pacing issues in itself.

Right now I’ve been working through the Thor collection of the series For Asgard and I find the art from Simone Bianchi beautiful but the writing on it is a slog like nothing I’ve ever seen. Every time I go to read it I can only read it in small chunks because it feels like a bit of a chore to read. I’m almost done with it so I will finish it but it’s not something along that line of I must finish this right now. Storytelling in general has been on my mind a good bit considering everything I’ve been seeing around me. I’ll give you another example of storytelling that didn’t work for me. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was a movie that my expectations were low for to say the least. Honestly I am still glad I did keep them low considering the fact that the general flow of that movie was off by a long shot. The first half of it felt muddled. It felt as though like okay here’s our slapstick and fun and oh isn’t that wonderful. It just didn’t have that sort of uumph to make me get invested into the story. Now the second half I’m not going to lie I liked it mostly for Blackbeard because Ian McShane rocked that role and that’s when the movie actually started to work for me.

This post is probably going to feel a bit random since it literally is me talking about storytelling of different things that have been on my mind. For in every medium you have to think that there is storytelling. Going back into TV for a moment I’ll let you in on a little secret about me in the fact that I do watch a decent bit of it and try and keep up with a few different shows. I’ve watched it all from crime dramas to science fiction. I always tell people I’m a bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to my entertainment. Comic Books, TV, Video Games, Books, and Graphic Novels have always been an equal part of my life. Video Games for example I just recently bought the entire Sam and Max series since it was one of my favorite Adventure games when I was a kid and I’ve been wanting to get into the newer series of it. Probably my favorite time of Video Gaming was the adventure game age. I think it’s why a good story in a game will compel me as much as one action packed adventure. Of course my curse with say RPG’s is I’m a leveling up junkie so I can never complete them because I get so into doing everything else. True story on that last one.

I’m going to close this post out for now since these thoughts are a bit on the all over the place side but it’s literally a compilation of different things that have been on my mind with storytelling. Take care guys and as always you can find me on my twitter feed @iamcomicaddict and my reviews are on mycomicnetwork.com.

How to get into Characters: Superman Part One

This comes from a twitter message from @T3h_Kaiser about him being intimidated by DC Continuity and how to get into certain characters. Here’s the thing it’s not as hard as you’d imagine but for the new comic fan or a comic fan getting back into it it can be seriously intimidating. His idea was a wiki but I’m not sure how to create wiki’s but I can do blog posts on each one and give you all ideas as to how to get into certain characters. I figure to end my small hiatus with a sort of how to on different characters done one at a time.

Superman I choose to do first because he’s one of my favorites and also dear sweet lord is his continuity an absolute riot to figure out. You think I’m kidding but my sweet lord it is not easy for the neophyte into the DCU.

Superman: Secret Identity: It’s an elseworlds book written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Stuart Immonen is a story involving a kid just named Clark Kent and reading about Superman and how he deals with that in his own life. Showing how it influences him and going from all of that. What’s interesting about it is if you’ve not really ever understood the appeal of Superman this is one of those books that can make you go, “Hey..I get it!” for it is absolutely amazing and one awesome read. It’s sadly out of print but if you can stumble upon it it’s absolutely one great read. It’s an absolute shame that it’s out of print for it’s one of the greatest gateway Superman introductions out there.

Superman for all Seasons: This one is actually pretty good it’s written by Jeph Loeb (considering I’m not a big fan of him nowadays this is big for me) and drawn by Tim Sale. It’s another origin story but it gets into Superman’s life as a kid and into him going into Metropolis. Showing his development of powers and his interactions with people going along the way.  It has a great retro look to it and it is still in print and easy to find. Definitely go and grab it if you can.

Superman: Whatever happened to the man of tomorrow: Written by Alan Moore and drawn by Curt Swan for this being the closing out of the Silver Age Superman it’s also one solid look at Superman and his general impact on the world. See the big part of this story was also Curt Swan was the major artist during this period of time before John Byrne came on and did his big revamp so this was the big swan song. What is surprising is it seriously is a great intro into it at the same time. If you want to understand more of the aspects of Superman that could be a bit more obscure this is fascinating. Definitely go for it. It’s collected in either the DC Universe collected stories of Alan Moore or in one separate hardcover edition of the story.

Superman: Birthright: This one is written by Mark Waid and drawn by Lenil Francis Yu and it’s very much modern age based in how it handles everything. They go into a lot of how Clark develops into being Superman and more into his travels as Clark Kent leading to it all. It’s absolutely gorgeous to look at too. Very much good for the Superman newbie too.

In each of these books I go for one accessibility in writing and two accessibility in art. Meaning is it easy for anyone to read and get into and is the storytelling clear for the person as well. These four definitely are some major parts of it. I know I’ll think of more so I’m making this part one so if I miss anything you might want me to look into or if I just forgot something let me know. Merry Christmas everyone and thanks again to @ T3h_Kaiser for me starting on this project. For this makes me want to go on one massive re-reading spree.

Oh and yes this will rotate around for there’s a lot of characters to play with and a lot of DCU to cover. I will end up doing this for Marvel too since I’ve been getting back into that world myself lately.

 

Manga Adventures: 7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano

In my reading the thing I’m pickiest about is manga. I think it’s because it’s where I first started in my early stages before I got back fully into comics so when I find a manga I like I’m not hesitant at all to tell people I like it. I just finished reading 7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano and it’s inspired by book by Hal Clement called Needle. The best way to put this book to you is you have this anti-social school girl named Hikaru who gets this entity of sorts inside her through means I won’t totally spoil for you named Horizon. Now what Horizon is after is a being named Malestrom. Best way to put Malestrom is it likes to kill. Oh man does it like to kill. When it possesses the body of one student and there’s a few images in the book itself that gave me the creeps. When I read some parts I couldn’t help but say, “Holy s-word!” and just keep going.

The character that you follow being Hikaru and her dealings with Horizon are funny to behold. She just things initially it’s just interference with her Mp3 player but heh heh..she wishes. Tadano has this great art style that is one that appeals to me in a book. It’s a very natural style which I absolutely love. What I mean is that the style isn’t the typical manga style so to speak. It’s a very real sort of world to me in the aspect of seeing this brutality that is to come in this title. It can go from fun school aspects and be great in just showing that aspect to this detailed battle and brutality of this. There’s also a reason why the book is called 7 billion needles but I’ll let you all read the book to get the idea of what that means. It’s pretty under the radar too I had remembered reading about it somewhere on the web and I couldn’t tell you how I stumbled upon the first mention but something about it interested me. I was at the bookstore late last night and saw the one copy and grabbed it. It’s published by Vertical Inc. and I love that they released this sort of book. For it being hard sci-fi it’s also fantastically brutal and fascinating in concept all at the same time. I mean yes possessed kids by different entities of course but the thing is the way it’s handled and how it works out is great. The last couple chapters alone are a thrill ride mixed in with great storytelling.

One other thing to mention too with Hikaru is she is extremely anti-social at one point where Horizon wants to figure out where Malestrom is in the school and in turn Horizon has her *gasp* TALK TO PEOPLE! It freaks her all the hell out. There’s hints that there’s more to her anti-social behaviors than meets the eye though. The way they handle it as it goes through and all the people talking around her and she’s just standing alone in the beginning parts of the book sort of show that talking is not an easy thing and connecting is worse. I can understand that sort of thing and as I was reading it reminded myself of situations in my own right. She’s just standing alone generally perfectly content with her mp3 and headphones yet there’s everyone else just chatting along and hanging together. No one is mean to her or anything of that sort she just is preferring to be alone. I like that the book goes in that direction with that rather than have everyone be mean and all that stupidity. I find that hilariously cliche. I just wanted to add that note in there.

To sum this up for you all. Definitely get this book. It is well worth your time. Bonus? It’s only four books long though I get the feeling I’ll probably want more by the time it’s all done.