Saturday, October 10, 2009

Zuda review Old Cthulhu's On The Rise/ walking in the foot steps of Lovecraft...

Old Cthulhu's On The Rise is a October Zuda comic created by Daniel Tollin. Here is the synopsis: Sam and Matt are hiking along the English coast when they loose their way and strange sounds start to call out in the night. Something predatory is following them! That’s when they stumble upon Howard, a farmer who warns them of being in the marsh at night and brings them to the town of Old Innsmouth. Old Innsmouth seems at first just a sleepy old town but as Matt’s and Sam’s stay is prolonged due to bad weather they slowly realize that something is not quite right. The townsfolk are overly fond of late night swims in the freezing Atlantic Ocean, and they seem to have more in common with fish or frogs than mammals. However, Everything is not all bad; Beth, the beautiful girl who works in the local pub, has charmed Matt. And though they appear strange, the villagers are friendly. But one night shortly after their arrival, Sam sees something hideous out in the marshes. Something is devouring a poor girl. Scared out of his mind, he races back to the town and tries to convince the villagers that there’s a monster lurking in the marshes.

Believe it or not, werewolves aren't the problem...

This comic started off with a American Werewolf in London tribute as two American backpackers walk down a English road. The balloon font could be bigger, but colors really suit the comic. By screen two you feel Sam's pain at being dumped, and see a quaint Lovecraftian Elder gods star symbol left on a marker. I'm not a big H.P. fan, but I know that symbol is bad news, the two guys just see it as a joke. One of them also makes a Night of the Living Dead reference "They're coming to get you, Barbara!' as a joke. Some good art in the characterizations on these guys faces, it helps a reader 'hear' their words in the right tone. Then they're scared by a odd sound behind them, and this is the impetuous to click to screen 3. With all the reference dropping it certainly brings to mind films like Scream, with the characters aware of all the horror cliches. So much possible foreshadowing is also like having a flash-light shined in your eyes. 2 screens are spent on the two leads running away from the scary sound before they encounter the mysterious stranger. On screen 5 we see the messed up looking human/creature named Howard giving the expected warning about how dangerous it is at nighttime. Unlike with Scream, Old Cthulhu's On The Rise doesn't pull off letting the characters and audience in on the joke. In only 8 screens of a Zuda submissions you don't have that much time to grab readers with a interesting twist, while making genre references and doing the first leg of a Scoby Doo style chase. You have a couple of screens in this comic that seem like they were just in there to set up lines, or try to build suspense. In only 8 screens you don't need to give the ending away, but you do need to move things along. If we had actually seen some of the other towns people I would have been more impressed with the pace.

The Gorton's fisherman freaked a frog-girl in merry old England once -with predictable results

Old Innsmouth is the name of the locale, and a pretty good tie-in with Lovecraft's Innsmouth. The rain throughout this story is a pretty good effect. The wide-open eyes really accentuate the characters fear (Sam and Max), or frogieness (Howard) as the case may be. The art was creepy as hell, and helped the story a great deal. Screen 7 uses see through word balloons to indicate whispering. It just looked weird (not in a cool way) to me, and took me out of the story. Screen 7 has Howard giving Sam, Max, and the readers the low down on Elder signs and Ancient Ones. The second panel on screen 7 had a nice effect keeping the two leads in silhouette as Howard continued on giving them his speech. It made me wish, for once, characters would turn around and go the other way when confronted with a creepy old man leading them to a creepy old town. Screen 8 is a little shot of the town, and a close-up on Howard having some green tentacles coming out of his mouth. It's the typical cliff hanger ending they're just about to go into the town... I figured from the synopsis/first screen the comic would probably end just before the characters get into Old Innsmouth, and I was right. A story that much 'in the mold' isn't going to stand out on Zuda fighting it out with 9 other contestants. I enjoyed the art, but a number of screens seemed wasted on characterization that was accomplished by screen 2. It was too much of a expected cliff hanger, it would have been nicer to see more of the town/its people. If Beth was important enough to mention in the synopsis, it would have been nice to see her in the 8 screens. I hope to see Daniel Tollin back in the contest being more daring in his story's structure.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Keeping the book reading list meme alive

MPD57 had it on first, Sam Little continued it, and now the book list is here on my blog. [It's like a chain letter that makes you realized how poorly read you are]

If you don't already know the drill:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline the books you LOVE.
3) Italicize those those that you tried to read, but couldn’t finish out of boredom or frustration.
4) Post this list on your own blog and show the world how well read you are (without it having much consequence)

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible – (various)
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugonts

Even books I don't like (more than a few on this list), I finish reading just so I can be informed when I talk shit about them.
Pay it forward.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Green Hornet tie-in post part II

The Green Hornet theme

The second part of my Green Hornet guest post is up on MPd57's blog here. I talk about Kato, my love for the NOW comics series, and the Hornet's film treatment. The new Green Hornet film is supposed to be out in December 2010. In 1996 their was a Green Hornet short film directed by Aurélien Poitrimoult. Le Frelon Vert is a short french film in English, that does a excellent job of embodying the spirit of the Green Hornet. You can see it below:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Green Hornet tie-in post/ Go check out my guest spot on Mike's Blog

Hello, today and tomorrow I have a guest blog post on MPD57's blog about the Green Hornet you can read here. Green Hornet has been a radio show, TV show, a series of comic books, film serials, and a new movie on the way. I also have to thank Mike for a link to Crosseyed Cyclops which has some old Hornet comics available for download. For my part, their are a number of sites you can go to hear the old radio show, one of which is here. Part two goes up tomorrow which will cover the Kato years, NOW comics, and the upcoming Green Hornet film staring Seth Rogen (who looks slimmer, or maybe it's just a stunt double) below: