Category Archives: Comics

[Film Review] The Avengers

When Marvel announced The Avengers movie back in 2008, I had my doubts that the film would work. A movie about a team of superheroes was just too big even for the silver screen. I was afraid that the characters will be underdeveloped or the story will be too convoluted. But, I was wrong. After I saw The Avengers last night, Joss Whedon and Marvel achieved what I thought was almost impossible.

The Avengers is a superhero team whose members includes Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and Thor. So, my main concern was that these four big superheroes wouldn’t fit in one movie. But thanks to Marvel’s “The Road to The Avengers” campaign, in which they tied five of their superhero movies (Iron Man 1 & 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger), and lay the groundwork for the big film, they were able to skip telling the characters’ origins and dive right into a new story.

For a title as big as The Avengers, I was expecting a lot from it. But Whedon handled it pretty well, met those expectations, and then some. There was never a dull moment in the movie. The action scenes, which ranges from no holds barred melee to aerial dogfights, were superb. There’s also a surprising amount of humor in the film. While delivered in small doses, their timing and placement were excellent –meaning it happens when and where you least expect it.

Whedon also balanced the character moments stupendously. All the characters, well, the heroes at least, got equal face time in the movie. No head stood taller than the rest (figuratively speaking, of course). The acting was also superb, as expected from a group talented cast. Robert Downey Jr. has grown quite comfortable in playing Tony Stark. The same goes to rest of the cast. But Mark Rufallo shone the brightest. He really gave character to Bruce Banner as a nerd who is silently angry.

The Avengers movie is kind of a big deal. To me, at least. A superhero team movie this big, graceful and good is not only an accomplishment but also a testament that films like this can be done. So, I’m really hoping that DC and Warner Bros. are taking down some notes. Because I really hope to see a JLA movie, a good JLA movie, one day. But that could take years. Now, I’m just looking forward to see Th***s getting beat up by The Hulk in The Avengers 2.

Score: A

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C2E2 2012: The Cosplayers

C2E2 2012 was bit different for me. Because, unlike previous conventions, this was my first time attending as a photography hobbyist. So, I was not only there for comics but also for pictures. And who are the best photo subjects in a comics convention other than the costume players?

Unfortunately, there were a truckload of bad cosplayers who were at C2E2 this weekend. So, finding the hot, good looking, kick ass and awesome cosplayers was a bit of challenge for me. Not to mention the convention grounds was also very crowded. Still, I managed to snag a couple of shots. Here are some.

Beer Can Armored Heroes!

The hottest Catwoman cosplayer I've laid my eyes upon. Mee-yow!

Zatanna, and I'm spellbound.

Gotham City Sirens. They're the cutest trio I've seen in C2E2.

The Rocketeer.

Black Cat. Another cute cat on latex.

Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

The Skrulls. Too bad I couldn't frame the entire group

Poison Ivy. I'd kiss her. But she's poisonous...and VIP.

Blade and The Punisher. These guys are bad-ass.

I hope you guys enjoyed the pictures. And thanks to all of those who posed for me!

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A Weekend of Comics and Craziness

The Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo in its third year.

C2E2 (Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo) 2012 marks my fifth year as a comics convention attendee. So, I’m not a comic-con newbie anymore. While not quite the veteran yet, I was able to maneuver the convention grounds more smoothly and efficiently. I haven’t encountered any pitfalls that plagued my first comic-con experience (which was Wizard World Chicago 2008) at all, like getting lost, getting financially raped, and arriving late on signings.

Digging for comics.

I managed to meet a lot of writers and artists this time, more than I did during the previous years. But, since I was carrying photography equipment, I didn’t bring a lot of comics with me. 15 issues were the most that I could bring. Still, I was able to get them signed. The first signing I fell in line with was Scott Snyder’s. I love this guy’s work. I also found out and bought a hardcover of his work, Severed. I haven’t heard of this book. But if it’s his, and it’s horror, then it’s bound to be good.

Captain America: First Avengers auction. I didn't stick around to bid.

Bill Willingham, I also met for the third time. He was at The Hero Initiative’s booth, a non-for-profit organization that helps comic book creators that are in need. He has no line going on. But since he was signing for charity, I thought I’d look like an ass if I ask him to sign my copies of Fables and Fairest without giving them money. So, I donated $20 to them. It felt good. For true.

After I got my signings done, I had more than enough time to scour the artists’ alley for my first art commission. Commissioning sketches isn’t my thing. But since I have a blank variant of Wolverine and the X-Men #1, which DCBS sent me by mistake, I thought I’d try it. Looking for the right artist was hard. After all, there were 400 of them. It took me about an hour and a half before I found Chris Hamer/Urbnpop. This guy’s art just pops out. I fell in love them right away.

Chris Hamer of Urbnpop, holding my commissioned blank variant cover of Wolverine and the X-Men #1.

I paid $60 for a colored torso of Logan, which is cheaper than most. It took a while though, and I have to get it the next day because he didn’t want to smear the lines when he puts in the color. But I was ecstatic when I saw it. It turned out better than I hoped. While it’s not as articulate and refined, it’s very unique and full of character. Now, I think I want to commission some more artwork.

The whole day Saturday was mostly spent shopping around, looking at toys, and taking pictures. I spent a total of $125 this time, which was more compared to last year. $60 for the art commision, $20 for The Hero Initiative donation, and $20 for the hardcover of Severed. My last $25 was spent at Archaia’s booth. From them I bought Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard and Critical Millenium. Both books were signed by the writers right then and there.

Looking at some awesome CS Moore statues. These things are expensive.

Taking photographs of cosplayers and random things was a bit of a fail for me. It was pretty damn hard to take a good shot with a 50mm prime lens. Especially since the place was packed. There’s people from wall to wall. It was hard for me to move back on a crowded aisle to properly frame my subject(s). Still, I got a few good shots of cosplayers. But I’ll make a separate post for that.

Fun, crazy cosplayers.

Like the others that came before it, I enjoyed this year’s C2E2. As always, ReedPop did an excellent job with the organization. There were restrooms, food stalls, seating areas and ATMs everywhere. They even have a shuttle service that runs on Chicago’s key locations, every 20 minutes. The convention grounds was well mapped out too, one of the reasons I never got lost. Heck, they even have speed dating. I should try that one next year.

Parting shot. Bronze statue of Lady Death.

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Bag of Comics #5

Comics take up a small fraction of my life now. Years ago, I was spending more than $100 each month on comics. Now, since I’m only following 11 series, I spend less than $30 a month. In order to save more money, I ship all my comic book orders at the end of the month. The picture above are the comic books that were released in March.

Since I’m too lazy to write a full review of all the comic books I just read, I’m gonna do a quickie of the top 3 that I liked the most instead. These are my top 3:

1. Saucer Country #1
When Vertigo launches a new series, I always add them to my list. Why? Because they don’t disappoint. Such is the case with Saucer Country. As the title suggests, the series is about aliens –both that came from the outer-space and the ones that migrated to the United States. This is not just science fiction as it also examines the political and social problems of immigration in the US.

2. The Manhattan Projects #1
Johnathan Hickman has always dazzled me with his high concepts in S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Nightly News. So, it didn’t surprise me that his new series would be full of interesting ideas as well, and he did it just by pluralizing the brain trust that gave us the atomic bomb, The Manhattan Project. This book is an alternate history of The Manhattan Project, in which building the atomic bomb is just a smoke screen to hide the many, madder scientific pursuits of the brain trust –from A.I. development to reverse engineering alien technology.

3. American Vampire #25
One of the reasons why Scott Snyder is my favorite comic book writer is because he knows how to wrap his stories while, at the same time, also prepares for the next arc. Remember Detective Comics #881? What material he left in that issue could be used in the next 10-15 issues. This is the same in American Vampire #25. The revelations in here expanded AV’s lore and could launch 2-3 more story arcs. Brilliant.

Well, those are my top 3 comics for the month of March. If I may ask, what were your top 3 issues last month?

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