Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss Returns

I recently purchased several books on amazon. Two of them are How-To guides for Manga Studio & Anime Studio, and one is a hardcover copy of one of my all time favorite graphic novels, Black Kiss by Howard Chaykin.

Be warned that this story puts the graphic in graphic novel. It is not for the faint of heart and is definitely not for children. When I first read this almost twenty five years ago it just blew me away because nothing like it existed. Black Kiss is right there with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns as being one of the most influential comic series of all time. If not for it’s graphic sexual content and taboo subject matter it would have received as much acclaim as the other two.

So just today I find out Chaykin is doing a Black Kiss II which tells the story behind the story. I’m going to have to pick up a copy just to see his take on his creation a quarter century later. I know that I was in a different place back then, so I assume Mr. Chaykin was also. Not only that, your art evolves over time as well. It’ll be fun to see how he draws his old characters in his new style.

The Dark Knight Takes A Bow

Director Christopher Nolan has stated that this will be his final venture into the world of Batman, in fact on the movie’s official website it says ” the legend ends July 20″. If that is the case, this could be the best third movie in a trilogy ever.

I’m not going to give anything away but I will say this and the hardcore Batman fans will know what I’m talking about. A few months ago I was sharing with my peeps in the Chicago Comic Creator group, that I wished the new movie would use the No Man’s Land storyline. Well, they sorta did.

Also, all the fanboys worried about how Catwoman was going to be portrayed can relax because Anne Hathaway nails it. She comes across way more like the current Selena Kyle than any other actress that has played her before.

So maybe in five or six years a new director will try their hand at the caped crusader. They’re gonna have a tough act to follow.

“Bernie” is an overlooked gem of a movie

Everyday we are bombarded with trailers & commercials for the latest movies about to be released. The blockbusters get the most attention because they have the most money behind them. Some live up to the hype(The Avengers) some don’t(Battleship). What get’s lost most of the time are the indie flicks that deserve more attention. One of these is Bernie starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey.

Jan & I had the pleasure of seeing this slightly dark comedy yesterday. Apparently it was released in 2011 but it was playing at the cineplex in Evanston like it was a new release. Neither one of us are fans of Jack Black but I have to say this has got to be his finest performance to date. Based ¬†on true events, Bernie tells the story of a mortician in a small east Texas town that befriends a wealthy widow and becomes her constant companion. I don’t want to give away too much but events occur that put the little town of Carthage on the map. Black and MacLaine give oscar worthy performances and I thought McConaughey was decent in his role as the headline grabbing local D.A. The director even uses local townspeople in documentary style cameos recounting their memories of the events.

So if you get a chance check this movie out and support an Indie film that truly deserves it!

Avengers Assemble!

I love when characters I’ve only read about get translated to the big screen, especially when it’s done right. That is definitely the case with the new Avengers movie. Even if you know nothing about The Avengers or have never read a comic book, there is a very good chance that you will like this movie.

One big reason the film works is not just a great cast but also the choice of director. Joss Whedon is well known for his work on Buffy & Angel, as well as other gems like Firefly and Dollhouse. Whedon followed up his success in television by writing many well received story arcs for comics like Fray, Astonishing X-men and Runaways just to name a few. The man “gets” comics. He’s a lifelong fan and respects the medium. Having the movie created through his vision prevents the suits from ruining a good thing.

I’m thrilled that The Avengers will now be on the radar as much as X-men have been in the past. Growing up I was a bigger fan of The Avengers than the X-men. Awesome 5! is inspired by The Avengers more than any other supergroup. Janet’s not a comic geek like I am but she loved the movie as much as I did. No one is a bigger proponent of indie films, comics and culture than myself but if you’re gonna make a blockbuster this is the way to do it. It’s a must see!