Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A few notes about the first part of Les Vampires (1915)

I'm making my way through Louis Feuillade's Les Vampires, one of the first movie serials. I'm not that familiar with Feuillade's work, but I love serials and silent film and the iconic image above that's most often connected with Les Vampires, so I needed to at least check it out. I didn't have high hopes going into this one though for a couple of reasons, biggest of which is that I couldn't make it all the way through Feuillade's other silent, serialized masterwork, Fantomas. I liked Fantomas for a few episodes, but they got repetitive, even when I staggered my viewing out to an episode a night. I grew tired of it and I expected that I would with Les Vampires as well.

That repetition is connected to my second reason for being pessimistic, which is that Les Vampires isn't about vampires at all, but - like Fantomas - is about an intrepid investigator and his humorous sidekick who are looking into the affairs of master criminals. I knew before I started it that Les Vampires isn't a monster series, but the more I watch of it the more it reminds me of Fantomas, at least superficially. It has a couple of things going for it though that have a chance of pulling me through the whole series.

First, the criminals have a lot more style than the titular villain of Fantomas. Not that Fantomas is without class. He's an intelligent, resourceful bad guy and fairly charming, though ruthless enough that I never wanted to see him get away. The criminal organization from whom Les Vampires gets its name though are all about flash with their ninja outfits and secret meetings. I also like how petty they are: beheading a policeman for getting too close and targeting a ballet dancer for daring to dress like a vampire bat onstage (that's her in the screenshot above).

They also have an agent who's boldly named Irma Vep and I'm kind of in love with her. She reminds me a lot of a murderous Aubrey Plaza and I'll be interested in the series as long as she's in it.

Women do especially well in Les Vampires, which is another thing that could keep me going. The main character - an investigative reporter - lives with his mother, who looks pretty helpless on the surface. But when she's kidnapped by the Vampires as leverage against her son, she doesn't wait around to be rescued, but figures out how to free herself.

I'm only three episodes in, but if the rest of Les Vampires is as surprising as this first part, I'll happily stay on for the whole ride.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kill All Monsters at C2E2

Just a quick note that Jason and I will be at C2E2 this weekend with plenty of copies of Kill All Monsters and other cool swag. Table Q-8 in Artist Alley.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Brandon Graham's Emerald City heroes drawing

I love this drawing that Brandon Graham did for the Emerald City Comicon program book. It's all creator-owned characters from people who were at the show.

It's fun to figure out who everyone is, but if you get stumped, Graham has the cheat sheet on his blog.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kill All Monsters fan art by A.Shay Hahn

A.Shay Hahn is a Toronto-based painter who's working on a couple of comics called Squirley Corn and Homeless G-Men for planned publication next year. While looking at different formats for comics, he discovered Kill All Monsters and dug the landscape format, which I hope I can be pleased about without sounding like a jerk since that was all Jason's idea.

Anyway, he also created this lovely piece of the Lionbot and a former adversary. Thanks so much for sharing that, Mr. Hahn! Jason and I are thrilled that you like the book!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Kill All Monsters fan art by Daniel Mead

You may remember Daniel Mead's name as the artist who made these awesome kaiju/giant robot pieces a while back featuring some of the Kill All Monsters Bots. Turns out, he's super versatile as proven by this adorable showdown between the Skullbot and a giant friend. Thanks, Daniel! Now I want Kill All Monsters plushies!

Check out Daniel's DeviantArt page for more of his great stuff.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kill All Monsters at Barnes and Noble

The good folks at Barnes & Noble would like for you to know that Kill All Monsters, Volume 1 and other Alterna comics are now available at their stores and website. They weren't for a while, but that's changed. Always good to have another place to buy, so thanks, Barnes & Noble!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Noah (2014)

Noah is my first Darren Aronofsky film. It would’ve been The Wolverine if it had worked out for him to direct that, but it didn’t, which is too bad. As much as I enjoyed the first three quarters of James Mangold’s film, based on Noah, I really want to see what Aronofsky would’ve done with that. It’s not that I’ve intentionally been ignoring the guy, it’s just that none of his films have grabbed me enough on a conceptual level to get me to sit down with one. That changed with Noah.

I expect it’s a lot of people’s first Aronofsky film. It’s based on one of the oldest, most familiar stories in the world and whatever differences folks have about how true it is, everyone knows the basic plot. And based on the $100 million it’s made so far worldwide, they’re also curious to see how Aronofsky’s interpreted it.

That’s what got me into the theater. The story of Noah is a tough one to navigate, even for serious Christians. I had no problem accepting a literal interpretation as a kid, but the older I got, the more I struggled with it. Not just with questions about the logistics of fitting all of those animals into that boat, but also with the theological questions the story raises about the nature of God. I’ve had to wrestle with that stuff, so I was interested in seeing what conclusions Aronofsky came to about it as well.


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