One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is create an online comic, or write a comic book. The only problem is that I can’t draw worth a hill of beans. And I’m not a super avid reader of comics, but there are a select few that I’ve found that I enjoy.
So I thought I would spend the month of August reading and reviewing comic books – both physical and online. I have a bit of a backlog building on my shelf that I want to power through. Posts are going to come out at least weekly, but I will likely have some bonus posts to throw up because I think I have more comics to talk about than there are weeks in the month.
Here’s a preview of some of the comics I’m going to review, in no particular order:
– Atomic Robo Volume 1
– Universe Vol 01 (from http://panelsyndicate.com/)
– The Private Eye Vol 01 (from http://panelsyndicate.com/)
– Barrier (from http://panelsyndicate.com/)
– Batman “A Word to the Wise” (Strange Zellers tie-in from 1992)
– Strange Tales of Oscar Zahn
– Poe Dameron: Black Squadron (Vol 1, issues 1-6)
– Suicide Squad “Blood & Snow” Part Two (near as I can tell, issue 12 from April 1988)
That list in itself grew as I was typing up this entry as I find more things to read. This is not ideal but also great at the same time. Anyway, I have a lot of reading to do (and this is on top of trying to finish a bunch of novels) so I’d better get cracking!
Here’s a description of the Connectome, from Wikipedia:
A connectome is a comprehensive map of neural connections in the brain, and may be thought of as its “wiring diagram”. More broadly, a connectome would include the mapping of all neural connections within an organism’s nervous system.
The study of the connectome was described in the podcast as akin to mapping the human genome. Basically, understanding this aspect of the human brain would be HUGE in terms of understanding how we work, and also in adapting technology to fit our needs. I won’t go into all of the specifics and ruin it for you, but some of the ideas broached in the episode with Gendel and Hoffman talk about some really cool, and also slightly terrifying, things that could theoretically be done with an understanding of the connectome.
If you’re not into Star Trek, just ignore some of the trappings of the episode and focus on the interview. It’s really good, and is a good way to kill an hour while you’re at work or commuting.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Vader comic book series, and it was recently recommended to me by Patrick of Make Dad Read Comics to read it – I had a $50 gift card burning a hole in my pocket so I finally picked up the first 12 issues, collected in Vader Omnibus – Volume 1.
If you haven’t come across this comic book before, the general idea behind it is that it follows Vader’s antics immediately after the destruction of the first Death Star. It joins the long standing tradition of comics and novels filling in the space in between films, which I can always get behind.
I finally finished the book over the weekend, and I can say that I really enjoyed it. One of the interesting things that it does is knock Vader down several notches. He’s somewhere in between his status in A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back; he’s still taking orders from other Imperial officers (Tagge, this time), but isn’t quite as fearsome as he appears in ESB.
What’s interesting is that the Emperor is really displeased with Vader in this comic series. The destruction of the Death Star at the end of A New Hope is a big failure for the Empire, and for Vader in particular. At this stage in the comics, Vader must really prove himself to the Emperor again, while being placed under the supervision of an Imperial officer. What results is Vader taking it upon himself to gather his own covert forces to track down Luke Skywalker.
There are several cool flashback moments in the comic that re-contextualize Vader a little bit. It made me realize that he was probably thinking of his past at a few different points in the movies, even though the prequel trilogy came much later. But the real highlight of these first 12 books are Captain Aphra and her droid factory (I’m hit or miss on Triple-0 and BT but more on the hit side than miss). I just found out today that she’s going to have her own comic book series – and I think I want to check it out.
I would gush more, but I need to give this another read through. Especially since I also just learned that the second volume is coming out Feb 28th, so I have another book to pick up soon. Suffice it to say that the Vader series is well-written, well-drawn, and is fun to read through. I definitely recommend it!
This is going to be largely another podcast recommendation, but if I’m ever asked what celebrity I’d most like to meet, it’d be Robert Picardo and Ethan Phillips, together in the same room. Those two are downright funny, and also (mostly) down to earth.
Apparently they know each other quite well since starring together on Star Trek: Voyager, and have crossed paths several times. I learned today that both Picardo and Phillips were cast in Cowen Brothers movies – and I specifically want to seek out Inside LLewyn Davis now.
I would definitely want to meet both of them, but if I had to choose, probably Robert Picardo. Anyway, if you want to hear some proof of their genius together (and apart), have a listen to some episodes from Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast. I’ve listed them in order of newest to oldest. Don’t worry, inside jokes are kept to a minimum.
Alright, so I re-read Wil Wheaton’s short story Hunter tonight; I’m posting this from mobile, so you’ll have to find the link when I wrote about it in my last post.
Anyway…It’s not as good as I apparently made it out to be in that post. If I were to grade it now, I’d give it a 3. The world building is done well, but the characterization is only okay. I can see my own writing reflected here.
Also, the twist at the end? Not really that big of a twist ending.
I still recommend it if you have some money to blow – it’s pretty cheap after all. And it’s a short read. Took me maybe ten to fifteen minutes.