Saturday, August 08, 2009

Might as well get this started...

Alright, so I'm thinking of doing an end-of-the-year "Best Comics of the Decade: 2000-2009" post and I'd like to hear your thoughts. I'm going to break it down as follows
What kind of comics? - I'll break it down in terms of series (limited or ongoing), runs by a particular creator/creative team, and of course, Graphic Novels. Any company or entity can apply, except webcomics, which I only exclude because I'm not nearly well versed enough to talk about them. The only other rule is that that they have to be from the 2000-2009 timeframe. No exceptions on this one.
Division of Categories:
The Best - Simply put, those comics that are going to pass the test of time and still be viewed as examples of the very best of a genre, format, or medium as you see it. (I.e. I would put All-Star Superman and Kurt Busiek's Arrowsmith on this list)
The Good - those that are good (if not perfect) examples of what comics can do, but that you aren't sure are the absolute "best of the best" (The Surrogates and Sleeper might fit in here, in my mind, to give two examples).
Of Their Times - Now, this might be a bit of a controversial category, as it will probably end up promoting a lot of bad comics as well as good ones. In the same way you can look at X-Force vol. 1 #1 or Spawn#1 and say "yep, that's the 90s!" - what comics do you think you're going to look back at ten years from now and say "Oh that's so 2000s!" (also, man, it's going to be hard to name this decades - are we really going to call it "the Aughts"?). For my money, my starting list right now includes Identity Crisis, Ultimates Vol. 1 and 2, and Black Summer.
I'm going to leave this post up for at least a week, so I want to hear your comments, thoughts, and suggestions as to what books belong in what categories. Go nuts.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

DVD reviews!

OK, so I rented the Wonder Woman and Green Lantern DVD animated features this weekend and was pleasantly surprised by both efforts, with very few caveats.

Of the two, Wonder Woman has vastly superior voice casting - with every character getting a pitch-perfect portrayal. Nathan Fillion owns the Steve Trevor role, and so many of the laughs I had were down to his delivery of the material. Rosario Dawson's Artemis was a pure delight - completely deadpan and snarky and exactly everything you should expect from the take-no-prisoners badass Amazon, and Alfred Molina brings exactly the right combination of menace and charisma to his portrayal of Ares. Honestly, every bit of voice acting in Wonder Woman is beautiful and perfect as is. Green Lantern does a satisfactory portrayal, but only Victor Garber's Sinestro really stands out.

In terms of animation quality, both films are absolutely stellar and bring a degree of life and vitality into their settings and character depictions - no real complaints there. My only surprise was with the level of violence and the high body counts of these features - with GL's body count being shockingly high. I knew that these features aren't being marketed towards little kids, but it was still quite a bit to get past.

In terms of plot, story and characterization, both features succeed in telling a "definitive origin epic" that would be worthy of a multi-million Hollywood blockbuster. Green Lantern takes the approach of a cop thriller (Training Day is an obvious influence) and mixes it with cosmic opera. There's quite a few fun little twists and at least one genuine surprise. Wonder Woman, in contrast, isn't much of a surprise, but was a well-done, solidly constructed epic fantasy adventure. Both of these are worth a look, especially for the fans.