Today is the eighth anniversary of this blog, and we nearly didn’t make it. A few months ago continuing difficulties with my previous web host were taking up way too much of my time, and I was considering pulling the plug, but I’m now on a new web host that seems to be working fine for me, so on we go. One problem is, after eight years of near daily entries, some quite long, the data size of the blog is several gigabytes, a lot in website storage terms. There have been 2612 blog posts so far, and though only a few dozen get the majority of the traffic, random searches do add to the load. So far the new host is handling it all well.
I plan to continue, and hope to bring more content-filled posts in the future. A new three-part logo study begins here Sunday, and I’m working on several comics history projects that will eventually appear when finished. It’s hard to find time for the good stuff, but I work on it when I can. Thanks for reading, hope to see you here again soon!
Images © Entertainment Weekly
On June 10th I received an email from Jennie Chang, the managing art director of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY magazine, asking if I was available to do a logo for their upcoming Comic-Con Preview insert. We talked terms and price, and I agreed to do it. She told me her design director had found my website, and they loved the logo samples I have up there. They were thinking they wanted something similar to my NEW TEEN TITANS logo: Continue reading
Cover art by Michael Mariano and Rick Turner
These might be the last fantasy books by Jane Louise Curry I hadn’t read, and I’m a little sad about that, I’ve enjoyed many of her books. While separate stories, they’re closely connected and best read together.
The viewpoint characters are small men and women of the Tiddi people, a wandering group who cover a regular yearly circuit through part of the land of Astarlind. Several young Tiddi get swept up in unexpected serious trouble with Men, wolves, ice giants, magicians, and a large cast of people and (sometimes) talking animals. Magic stones from ancient times have surfaced, and an hidden evil presence is seeking them, sending his goblins and other dire creatures to find them. Runner, Fith and Cat, the young Tiddi, become part of a mission to destroy an evil outpost in a northern ice-bound land in the first book, and another mission to uncover the hidden evil and missing magic stones in the second.
These books are highly derivative of Tolkien, which is good in some ways, bad in others. For one thing there’s a deep back story giving events resonance, but Curry does not explain it as well as Tolkien, probably because there isn’t room. Second, some characters keep reminding the reader of Tolkien’s: the Tiddi of Hobbits, Lek the conjuror of Gandalf, and so on, but they aren’t as memorable or well-rounded in my opinion. Yet, there is an epic feel to the books that I liked, and lots of imaginative ideas.
Both books are full of exciting adventures and good characters who traverse an interesting and diverse land, and I did enjoy reading them, but I wouldn’t put them among Curry’s best work. Still, recommended.
Image © Robert A. Heinlein
Three things that make the writing of Robert A. Heinlein tops in my book are the ideas, the author’s voice (narration) and the dialogue. This adaptation tries hard to make a comic out of the novel, but it feels incomplete because the author’s voice is largely missing. The ideas are there, at least some of them, same for the dialogue, but the few captions can’t begin to represent what reading Heinlein is like, and there the effort falls short. As it is, we have lots of talking heads, and not much action, though the story itself is quite interesting. A slave boy on a distant planet is gradually finding out he’s much more than that through a series of revelations. We follow his rise through a clan of space-faring traders, then his entrance into the Hegemonic Guard, a sort of space Navy, and his realization he needs to follow his own story to Earth. I enjoyed touching base with the characters, the pencil art by pro Steve Erwin is fine, though the digital “inks” are rough in spots. It’s an honest attempt, and worth a look if you’re a Heinlein fan, but not nearly as satisfying as the novel.
Image © Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey
I love this book. The art and writing are both delicious. The threads are being gathered toward a major confrontation between Learoyd and the bison, with all kinds of sub-plots and surprising turnarounds. The leaders of the broken city are making grabs for power, the fox woman is scheming, Learoyd is making explosives, and over it all the narration by the idealistic dog boy is charming. I find myself looking forward to studying the pulp-magazine painted spreads on pages 2 and 3 each issue. My only problem is, with so many characters, I have a hard time remembering the names. A cast list with small headshots on the inside front cover would be helpful.