The Road to Success

accomplishment action adult adventure

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You are responsible for your success and failure. The sooner you accept and integrate that into your work ethic, the sooner you will start being successful. If you blame others for your failures, you will never be successful.

 

…….

Advertisements

Comic Book Review – Jupiter’s Legacy Volume 2 (2017)

JupitersLegacy_Vol02-1

I’ve been reading comics for over thirty years and I like them as much now as I did when I was kid. But as my knowledge of art, drama, history, geography, cinema and psychology has grown, my expectations for mainstream entertainment and superhero comics have soared.

Some of my favorite books have been about the unilateral grasp for power by the world’s most powerful and the capes that arise in opposition. A quick list: Squadron Supreme (86), Watchmen, Kingdom Come, Civil War (06 – I understand I am loose in putting it on this list), and the dazzling Rising Stars (especially the first two volumes). The Jupiter series (Circle and Legacy) honors and possible surpasses all of those (a few of you might think Garth Ennis’s “The Boys” should go on this list, but that is mostly a dark and violent satire of the genre).

The work that Mr. Millar and Mr. Quitely have performed in this book is astonishing. Frank Quitely’s art is truly spectacular and dynamic – from facial expressions to movements to backgrounds to splash pages. His skills have only improved with the years.

Mark Millar’s plotting and dialogue are superb in this volume, and he builds the anticipation for the conflict deftly. The so-called heroes are the villains and vice-versa: the world seems upside down, which is a scathingly blatant critique of the current social, economic and political climates of the Western world (particularly the USA), though if you blink you’ll miss them. The arrogance, stupidity and knee-jerk actions of the leadership is both eerie and funny at the same time. The motivations of the rebels (villains/heroes that have been in hiding) are both personal and globally altruistic – and they are consistent and logical. This is truly a wonderful feat of writing. There were many moments where I paused as I caught myself smiling and shaking my head at both the content and the style.

The action in issues 5 and 6 in this volume could have been spread out a little more, but I’m only whinging about it because I liked this story so much. The other irritant is that it took Millar and Quitely 2 1/2 years to offer this up after the glorious first volume. If the last page is to be believed, then we won’t see “Jupiter’s Requiem” until 2019. Brutal.

 

5 out of 5 stars

……………………………..

Comic Book Review – Miracleman Book Three: Olympus (2015)

miracleman 3

The fantastic conclusion to one of Alan Moore’s first on-going comics is finally back in print. “Miracleman – Book 3: Olympus” has been one of the most expensive out-of-print graphic novels for many years now. The hardcover version being frequently posted for sale for insane amounts of money (think 4 figures). So, it’s a blessed relief for fans and newcomers alike that there is now a more affordable option for enjoying the finale to Moore’s 8 year opus.

Much has been written about Moore (aka “The Original Writer”) and John Totleben’s work on Miracleman, but needless to say that it’s more than a fitting resolution to all the sub-plots introduced in Books 1 and 2. Told via flashback in a utopian 1987/1988, Miracleman writes the “official” account of late 1982 to his present day. He narrates being reunited with Miraclewoman, meeting the Warpsmiths, the loss of much of his personal life, and the horrific return of Kid Miracleman in 1985. At the end of the book, Miracleman saves the day “for good”, but at what cost?

Moore presents some fascinating themes and realistic consequences of the existence of actual super heroes. Unlike in “Watchmen”, where all the masked heroes were regular people for the most part, Olympus confronts head on how alien the main characters are. From Miraclewoman’s detached attitude to her sexual abuse by Dr. Gargunza; Kid Miracleman’s effortless massacre, slaughtering half the population of London creatively in a matter of hours; to Miracleman’s own personal transformation as he desperately tries to hold onto his humanity, before slipping into other world benevolence.

The conclusion will definitely divide your thoughts and opinions if you see morality in anything but black and white. An apparent utopia is achieved, but are the humans in Miracleman’s fantastical society really free? It’s a very complex ending to the comic, with Miracleman himself unsure about his actions and the future of the world that he’s created.

Totleben illustrates all of these scenarios magnificently, and Book 3 is, by far, the most beautiful of the three volumes. This is incredibly high praise considering Garry Leach’s highly detailed work on the first book, but the consistency of Book 3 really takes it above and beyond. The art really imbibes the mythological tone of Moore’s writing, with Totleben drawing breathtaking imagery seemingly every other page. And when I say breathtaking, I mean in multiple different ways. But these descriptions do not do Totleben’s craft justice – no amount of words probably could. Please, buy this book and experience it yourself. The artwork is worth the price alone.

Moore’s writing in this book far surpasses Watchmen or any of his other work and Totleben’s striking line art seems to be sharper and more detailed in this new edition. Steve Oliff’s new digital colouring also does a good job of matching the quality of Sam Parson’s original traditional colouring and everything appears to be much more vibrant, but not at the expense of compromising the dark atmosphere of the book. This is by far the best chapter in my favourite comic of all time, and it is as fresh and striking today as it was in 1990.

Highly recommended.

 

5 out of 5 stars

…………………………………….

On Writing…..

close up of woman working

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

…on art, on being creative:

“Work hard
Think
Cultivate silence
Plan diligently
Plumb your own soul
And try, with every fibre of your being, to get better and better and better……”

James Ellroy

It’s just that simple, and that hard.

……

So You Want to be a Writer?

gray scale photography of typewriter

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I can’t take credit for this list, it’s courtesy of Matt Hawkins at Top Cow Productions Inc. Link here: https://topcow.com/

I have, however, made a few edits to the list as I think this is relevant to most if not all writers and types of writing.

So, you want to be a comics pro? If you’re interested in becoming a professional writer here are a few things to consider in order to make sure that this is the right move for you:

1) For the most part, writing is a solitary experience and you can expect long periods of isolation while doing the creative work;

2) Most writers have editors and they also do work-for-hire, which means you will be forced to change your creation in ways that you may not like. You’ll need to find a way embrace and work past this disagreement in order to complete the piece (and get paid);

3) You’ll need to learn self-marketing in order to sell yourself (and your work); publishing companies market characters/titles for the most part, however you’ll need to market yourself. And yes, driving 4 hours to a book signing where 3 people show up is no fun, but it’s happened to everyone.

4) Unless you have a day job, you need to have enough savings to cover your living expenses for 6 to 12 months. Freelance writing jobs aren’t always readily available, so don’t become too comfortable in your current economic status. There are countless freelancers who went from making 60-80k a year to 20k the next.

5) You have to become comfortable talking to people and selling yourself and your stories at cons. Unless you’re on a name brand book it won’t sell itself.

6) Either have something to say or don’t say anything at all. Social media is a bitch, so either have a message and stick to it which can help build you a following (and potentially alienate others) or don’t discuss controversial things at all. If you aren’t comfortable and good at it, don’t do it.

 

…………………………………

 

 

Why Are Writers Crazy?

grayscale photo of man walking in hole

Photo by Kasuma on Pexels.com

The isolation of working on my own is is something I’ve been wrestling with for some time, the last four years to be specific. I came across this post from Scott Snyder on Twitter which sums it up perfectly, so I thought I’d post it here:

“The other day when I was doing a Q & A, someone asked a version of the classic question, “why writers are so crazy? Is it a prerequisite?” I ran out of time before I could answer, but been meaning to post some thoughts as this is something i struggle with myself.

The thing with writing is that you spend all day alone, and to make something meaningful to you, you often have to spend that time staring at and exploring things that matter to you – things you hope for, things you’re deeply afraid of. About the world. About yourself.

If you do it professionally, no other job, you usually don’t see anyone all day. No social regulators. It’s an amazing thing, and there’s no better job, but it can also become an echo chamber, and lead to self destructive patterns b/c of the the material and the social isolation.

I don’t say this to excuse any bad behavior. On the contrary, I’m speaking more to aspiring writers more than anything, because I wish more writers had talked to me about this when I started. Over the years, I have admittedly gone down some dark rabbit holes with it

gotten lost in my head, been destructive to myself and people I care about, and I’ve tried to be pretty open about battles with depression and anxiety here. For me the bottom line is this: be aware of the pitfalls of writing. Because there’s NO romance in being the crazy writer.

None. Getting yourself into a black place, being cruel to yourself or those around you doesn’t help your writing. Write what scares you, what inspires you, be unflinching, but also make sure to get out of your own head, take care of those around you, and yourself.

sorry for the length of this thread, it’s just something I wish I’d understood better at when I was younger (and still struggle with sometimes) and see romanticized or excused sometimes in a way that I worry stops people from getting healthy”

I can especially relate to his thoughts on getting lost in my own head and creating an impenetrable echo chamber. There are periods of time when I don’t interact with anyone in a meaningful way, sometimes for days at a time, and that’s when the dark thoughts creep in. I lose that third party perspective. The shadows in the corner of the room start to take on oppressive qualities, and the plans that they have for me are……(struggling to come up with the right word here)….destructive.

I’m finding that the only way (or at least the only way for me) is to get out of the house and put myself in social situations, no matter how uncomfortable or how much social anxiety I feel. If I don’t, then I lose that social perspective and end up feeling weird all the time, which I think is not really conducive to good writing. It’s makes my thoughts way too dark and it comes out in my writing.

It’s not necessarily all gloom and doom, however it is something I need to manage carefully going forward….

 

…………………

Comic Book Review – Thor: God of Thunder Volume 2: The Godbomb (collecting issues 6 to 11) – 2013

17824758

This review contains spoilers, so if you are planning on reading the book please be mindful of that. On that note, I highly recommending reading it and circling back to the review. It’s a beautifully written and drawn book, and well worth adding to anyone’s collection.

The heart of the story is about how revenge corrupts, plain and simple. Here we see Gorr’s origin story………..

I’m sitting in the library trying to think of how/what to write on this comic book which I enjoyed tremendously. The atmosphere generated by the artist, the movement of the characters and their expressiveness as they emote supports the story perfectly.

That’s how it was flowing until my personal space was invaded by this dude who sat right next to me on the communal bench. Ok, it’s a communal bench, I get it, but I’ll know not to sit here next time. And, I appreciate it’s a Saturday which is the busiest day of the week, but seriously chief, you’re sitting so close it looks like we’re a couple. This is, of course, the best time for you to start reading over my shoulder – not literally given you are sitting so close, you’re almost looking at the laptop screen head-on. This guy has no concept of personal space.

Ok, so It’s a cautionary tale about becoming the thing we hate the most. Gorr starts off hating the Gods who abandoned him, who wouldn’t help as he suffered and then were directly responsible for the loss of his loved ones. He takes a chance opportunity at acquiring power to seek justice at first, but as time progresses he becomes bitter, twisted and cruel as revenge totally consumes him. His final act, a bomb to destroy all Gods throughout all time, sees Gorr become the God of all Gods who destroys lives around him as he focuses solely on his ultimate goal. Collateral damage; they’re not important.

Ok, chief, let’s take this a step further. You’ve just pulled out the Most Feminine Hand Cream of All Time and are applying it while looking at me out of the corner of your eye. I see your game, dude. Now I know why you sat next to me. Unfortunately for me, my sinuses have become sensitive to perfume/cologne over the years, to the point that I can no longer wear the stuff myself. The hand cream this guy is using is perfumed and is assaulting my senses. Fuck, could you be any more annoying? No wait, please don’t answer that.

I’ve always been a big fan of character driven stories which show their journey, decisions they make and the consequences thereof. Jason takes a unique and inventive approach by showing us three versions of Thor; a young, brash and inexperienced God, a “middle-aged” superhero and Avenger, and then finally King Thor, someone who is feeling the weight of hard decisions he has had to make as a King of Asgard, and then has them team up in the same story. One thing of note is the foreshadowing that Jason does with King Thor. In later stories, Thor loses his arm and we see this with King Thor and his use of the Destroyer’s arm in place of the one he lost in his younger years.

Ok, he answered that question. Now this dude is giving me furtive glances, sending me the signal that he wants to talk to me, i.e. hit on me. Fuck, chief, I couldn’t be any less interested, not to mention that you’re barking up the wrong tree. I don’t swing that way. So, okay, lesson learned. I’ll need to sit elsewhere in the library – I’m not going to stop coming here because it’s a good space for writing. Next time I’ll just vacate the area and find another spot. The library has five floors. Plenty of options are available.

I appreciate that this is a comic book and a stylised, embellished version of the Norse myth, however I would have preferred to see Thor’s sons instead of the three daughters that appeared in the story. I guess I’m just a purest in that regard, but that’s really my only complaint about the story. In any case, I enjoyed the first eleven issues of the series so much, I bought the entire run. This is, of course, what good stories do: you can’t wait to see what happens next.

4 stars out of 5.

 

 

……………………………………………………………………