tartysuz: (Default)
Yesterday, [profile] kadymae and I co-moderated a panel about live action adaptations of comic books on TV, which is a huge trend that shows no sign of slowing.

All four major English-language networks are airing or have commissioned comic book shows. Cable, Netflix and even the Playstation Network are developing comic book shows.

We looked at a list of current and upcoming live-action shows based on comics:

and a liist of all TV shows based based on comic books:

We found many differences between earlier TV shows, which are more serialized and produced by people who are producing comics today, have previously worked in the comics industry, or are longtime fans of comics and familiar with the canon.

Some points that were raised:

  • As the Comics Code Authority loses its cachet, changes in what comics can show reflected in what TV can show.
  • The Feels: you used to watch TV for episodic plot, and movies for emotional resonance, but now TV shows convey that sense of intimacy
  • The technology has improved for special effects and costumes.
  • New shows produced from a place of love and respect for the material, not from a place that is just using the brand.
  • Shows are remixing the source material and they are conscious that audiences are aware of the remixing.
  • This remixing adds a Shakespearan dimensionality to the shows: we're watching how these characters are being interpreted by this particular production.
  • There are now shared universes on TV and also with movies, whereas older shows were stand-alone.
  • There is a seriousness to the characters, as we take comics seriously -- in contrast to campier interpretations in the past.
  • Television producers are now expanding out to feature lesser known characters, like Arrow and Agent Carter.
  • Agent Carter was great at showing attitudes to women in the 1940s, but it missed out on commenting on the whiteness of the office.
  • Comics and shows based on them can help us look at things that make us uncomfortable, such as sexism and the long-term effects of PTSD.
  • You get families on TV, much more than in the comics.
  • You now see consequences of actions, even several seasons from the initial incident.
  • There are a lot of ensemble shows.
  • Some stories deal with how we relate to veterans: we say they're heroes, but we ignore them.
  • Heroes can be something other than purely good. Sometimes they're rat bastards, creating complexity in the characterization.
  • There is more diversity now.
  • Diggle is good with being Diggle, wasn't impressed with being Arrow
    Defenders will be diverse and slashy

Hopes for the future
  • Hoping they don't all copy each other.
  • Hoping they continue to reflect the diversity source material.
  • Hoping the Netflix series are more arc-oriented.
  • Hoping the shows on cable, Netflix and smaller networks can survive because they don't need huge Nielsen numbers.


    [profile] kadymae wore a t-shirt that says "I read banned comics," which is from the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund. For information about the CBLDF banned comics, visit:
  • Fast Five

    Jan. 12th, 2014 09:40 pm
    tartysuz: (Default)
    Faith Erin Hicks understands.

    By Faith Erin Hicks
    I watched Fast Five while working tonight. They loved each other so much but it could never be because Dom lived OUTSIDE THE LAW

    …. might be working a bit much lately.

    Source: Faith Erin Hicks's Tumblr
    tartysuz: (Default)
    As usual, I'm having a blast covering Calgary Expo. This year, the expo rented an entire other building, so there was much more room, so fans and vendors were happy: fans were more comfortable and vendors were accessible.

    Last night, I collected my Calgary Expo tweets so far.


    MIDDLE EARTH (Richard Taylor, Dave Tremont, Mark Ferguson, Craig Parker)


    SUPERNATURAL (Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard, Mitch Pileggi)


    The media panels were all very entertaining, but the panel that made my jaw drop was David Finch's. He is so humble about his work and honest about the comic book industry. I almost cried when he said he hasn't painted in two years because DC is discouraging it: he could be turning out more pages in the time it takes to do a painting.

    If you're not familiar with Finch's work, check out this step-by-step feature and take a look at this:

    Batman, painted by David Finch
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    How did I not know that Patricia Highsmith (best known for writing The Talented Mr. Ripley) wrote comics? I guess because she kept it more of a secret than her sexuality, which was illegal and socially unacceptable when she was younger.

    I'm reading a book called Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. In a passage about the early days of the company (then called Timely), author Sean Howe writes that during and immediately after World War II, comics had become an attractive market for writers. "for Jap-Buster Johnson alone, future novelists Mickey Spillane and Patricia Highsmith were submitting scripts." (The Marvel Wikia entry for Jap-Buster Johnson makes sounds racist and fascinating at the same time.)

    Curious, I found that cartoonist Ariel Schrag recently wrote about a massive biography about Highsmith, Alter Ego, by Joan Schenkar. Schrag sees a strong tie between Highsmith's sexuality, her comics and her novels. In After Ellen, Schrag writes:

    In the four parts titled “Alter Ego,” Schenkar details how writing for comics influenced Highsmith’s “serious” (prose) writing, not only in Highsmith’s common themes of double lives and secret identities – but also her pulpy, action-heavy style itself. Highsmith’s stories – which often center on an obsessive relationship between two men – were likewise fueled by her homosexuality. Her murderous protagonists, most suffering from some form of repression, expose our darker impulses.

    Schrag goes on to speculate whether today's acceptance of homosexuality (at least in the businesses and circles associated with Highsmith) would have changed how and what Highsmith wrote.

    Having spent most of my morning reflecting on Escapade, I wonder how much current genre shows owe their slashability to attitudes baked into their pulp origins.
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    Katherine Keller did an amazing interview with comix legend Howard Cruse for Sequential Tart:

    Cruse is best known for Stuck Rubber Baby, a milestone gay comics. His new book collects his work that does not deal specifically with gay themes. In speaking about the material, he shares his views on radical art, public funding of art (in a passage that is very relevant to this week's U.S. election) and the underground comix scene.
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    I finally reached the end of the Brian Wood / Philip Bond Supernatural comic book series, and, sadly, I cannot recommend it.

    A non-recommendation and an actual recommendation )

    Smaller Winchesters by Dustin Nguyen
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    I collected some of my Calgary Expo tweets on Storify:

    There are a couple of tweets about the fire capacity issue and brief comments about panels and meetings that I'll expand upon in upcoming Sequential Tart articles.

    Photo highlights:
    • two images from the big screens at the James Marsters spotlight (lookin' spry for a 50-year-old guy);
    • [profile] beatonna's most excellent Strong Female Character doodle for me;
    • Pia Guerra's customized con bag (saved my life, or at least my back).
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    I'm off to the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo this weekend. (Their official hashtag is #calgaryexpo, but their slogan is #fullfrontalnerdity - lol!)

    I will be there for Sequential Tart, so expect con reports and interviews in the near future.

    Meanwhile, if you're going to be there as well, let me know!
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    [personal profile] devilc was invited by Henry Jenkins to speak on a panel about comics at Transmedia Hollywood 3.

    By all reports, she acquitted herself very well and was an impressive representative for Sequential Tart -- no surprise there!

    I Storyfied tweets about her comments. A video of the full panel is expected next week.
    tartysuz: (Default)
    Whoa, it's been a long time since I posted about my writing! Let's start with the most recent interviews, then the Supernatural Talks.

    Today, I posted a column of 13 Questions that I asked ANDY GRABIA, curator of an exhibit of my late roommate's comics. Andy is an interesting fellow, but do take a look if you have an interest in how comics can work in a library setting:

    Earlier this month, I posted an email interview with JO WALTON, author of the Small Change books, Tooth and Claw and the new book Among Others. I met Jo at the Pure Spec science fiction convention and Edmonton and she is a pure delight. We went into depth with Among Others in this interview: the book is her fastest-selling and in many ways her most personal book. What SF (or any other genre) book nerd can't relate to being a teenaged book nerd?

    Last week, I posted a transcript of an hour-long phone interview I had with OLIVIA CHENG, known to Supernatural fans as Susan the Leviathan in episode 7.09 "How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters." Dick Roman creeps me out, but if Olivia were a motivational speaker, I'd follow her in a second. She has a couple of great stories about working with Jim Beaver, but I was most impressed how she describes her evolution from reporter to actor to … whatever might come next:

    In December, I posted an email interview with REBECCA GUAY in two parts. The artist/project manager (seriously, how does she do it?!) had two books out this year, one at the beginning of the fall season, one closer to Christmas. Both are absolutely gorgeous and I encourage you to seek them out if you are a fan of fantasy and folklore.
    Rebecca Guay on The Last Dragon
    Rebecca Guay on A Flight of Angels

    Finally, here is the latest batch of Supernatural Talks:
    7.07 "The Mentalists"

    7.08 "Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!"

    7.09 "How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters"

    7.10 "Death's Door"

    Hope you find time to check into one or more of the above!
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    I've been doing a bit of research for a review of the new comic featuring Deadman (DC Universe Presents #1).

    As Supernatural fans know, Eric Kripke is developing a Deadman series for the CW. What I didn't know was there was an earlier attempt, in 2000:

    "Story concerns a murdered stunt man who is allowed to return to earth as a spirit that can occupy the body of his nerdy accountant brother." (Variety, 21 August 2000)

    Yeah, that sounds TERRIBLE. Tying Deadman to one body might have been easier for TV production and marketing, but it is so not Deadman.

    One of the best things about the character is that he can -- nay, MUST -- hop from body to body in order to solve the problem at hand. Each person's resolution leads Deadman one step closer to his larger goal. (The new comic has an interesting take on this, which I'll cover in my review; I'm aiming for publication tomorrow.)
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    I was introduced to iZombie this summer. WOW, it is gorgeous! That's maybe not surprising because Mike and Laura Allred did the artwork. Chris Roberson is a relatively new writer for DC. His Fables-spinoff, Cinderella, was a good start, but he really shines with iZombie, which is completely a universe of his own making.

    We loved it so much at Sequential Tart that we're letting it go...in the form of a giveaway. Details on how to enter are in this roundtable discussion about why we love iZombie so much!

    tartysuz: (Supernatural)
    Does anyone read the Supernatural comics?

    I've been wondering what people think of the new series, since it's being done by a bona fide comics writer who has not worked on the show. There is also a new artist.

    I'm also up for a spoilery discussion of the previous Supernatural comic series in the comment section of this post.

    Supernatural #1
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    I posted a few more reviews of DC's "new 52" comics in Sequential Tart.

    DC as a publishing company and the artists really invested themselves into the comics, so I haven't run into anything horrible, but I still question the girlfriendization of Madame Xanadu in Demon Knights and Power Girl in Mister Terrific.

    No, I didn't read Catwoman. For the first time since the Ed Brubaker/Cameron Stewart reboot, I didn't sign up for Catwoman. I don't mind Guillam March's sexy Catwoman (see: Gotham Sirens), but I've never cottoned on to Judd Winick's superhero comics.

    I'd like to hear what newbies thought of Legion Lost. It seemed like a good entry point for people who are not a whit familiar with the characters, but I've heard otherwise.

    Demon Knights #1

    Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

    Legion Lost #1

    Mister Terrific #1

    Resurrection Man #1
    tartysuz: (Default)
    I’ve been meaning to share this post by Tom Pappalardo about how those sleek slips of Apple technology pose a challenge to cartoonists: http://blog.tompappalardo.com/?p=2016

    It’s a brilliant little essay about why iconic images are important elements in a cartoonist’s visual  vocabulary. It also prompted me to reflect on how much Steve Jobs and Apple have changed everyday life. As the curmudgeonly Supernatural character Bobby Singer protests: “A computer has buttons!”  Personally, I remember being amazed by a news story about how iPods were prompting clothing manufacturers to change the traditional size of pockets on shirts, pants and jackets.

    I was a late convert to Apple. Early Macs were memory hogs and incompatible with everything. However, at some point, the company’s products became more useful and accessible, and I got tired of messing around with PCs and their array of unreliable OSes. 

    I’m not on board with all of Apple’s decisions (especially in the patents area), but I can’t deny that their stuff works for me with very little fuss. And even fewer buttons. 
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    I have three more DC New 52 reviews up at Sequential Tart:

    Stormwatch #1 (disappointing)
    Swamp Thing #1 (great!)
    Batwoman #1 (gorgeous, but summary-y)

    Supernatural fans may be tickled to learn that the Batwoman series debuts with the same antagonist who appeared in Supernatural's series debut: the Woman in White!

    In other news, I'm super-behind in posting comics reviews, so expect a bunch more next week.

    And my comic shop reports that indie books are selling really well in the wake of DC's relaunch. To quote their tweets:

    "This Wed bigger than last which was bigger than the one before. Getting cleaned out by customers from other stores! Indies not suffering!" "Any pub who didn't have a book in the last 3 weeks missed an opportunity. Ride the DC wave, kids."

    I dropped just over $100 at my LCS yesterday, $80 of which on indies: two Dark Horse comics and TPBs and one hardcover from Arcana, Fantagraphics and IDW.

    Of course, it's not every week that two pre-ordered collections plus a Love and Rockets show up. But I definitely grabbed the Arcana release because I made a point of coming into the store, and Andrew Foley, author of Done to Death, was in the store to sign Done to Death, and so was this other local author. His book is called The Matriarch and the artwork looks great, so I thought, why not?

    Now all I have to do is find time to read all this stuff!
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    All that writing I've been doing is being published now!

    Let's start with Teen Wolf. I got into this after some good word-of-mouth, and I'm really glad that I did. [livejournal.com profile] kadymae was one of the enthusiasts who convinced me to give it a go. We got together to
    write 5 Reasons we love the show:

    Teen Wolf

    I also did a profile of Canada's first artist-in-residence in a comic book shop. He's Daniel Schneider and he's based at my LCS. One of the things about the program is that it's designed to support an emerging artist. Dan's had work in the DC Fifty-Too project and he's working on try-outs for the big companies. He also helps to promote comics by explaining the process to customers and to school kids when the store goes on school visits. He's really articulate, so if you're wondering how an artist-in-residence program can work for a comic shop, check out the interview.

    Daniel Schneider, Comic Book Store Artist-in-Residence

    And my first bunch of DC New 52 reviews are up. I'm reading them in order of the week they're published and their place in the alphabet. My first reviews are of Justice League, Action Comics, Animal Man and Batgirl. They range from okay to very good:

    DC New 52 Reviews
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    Between Thursday night and Saturday afternoon, I interviewed:

    Ray Fawkes
    Amanda Conner
    Mike Mignola
    Dustin Nguyen
    Jason Ask and Devon Jopling

    They were all generous and amazing. The interviews will be published in Sequential Tart in July.
    tartysuz: (Comics)
    I contributed to two articles in this week's Sequential Tart.

    Nat Jones
    First, I interviewed Nat Jones, a comics artist who has made a name for himself with horror or horror-inspired titles such as Spawn, Death Dealer and now '68, a comic about the Vietnam War -- with zombies! Nat is originally from South Carolina, but moved up to the Great White North to raise a family with his Edmonton-born wife. It was interesting to hear him say that as a comics artist, he can really work anywhere. A few months ago, Edmonton comics writer Andrew Foley said that it was tough to get a start in the industry living up here. (Other Edmontonians successful in the industry had to move away, including John Byrne, Travis Charest and Todd MacFarlane.) Anyway, Nat's a really nice guy, a thoughtful interview and an excellent artist. See for yourself!


    SPN Talk 6.17
    Second, I contributed to the Supernatural Talk about SPN 6.17 "My Heart Will Go On," which finds a new way to depict Sam and Dean in alternate lives: by angel interference in world events! Episodes wherein the Winchesters find themselves in alternate realities are very amusing -- they let us see Sam and Dean in a different context, give the characters a break from the "fate" that The Powers That Be have set out for them, and relieves the show from pure nihilism. On the other hand, I don't think the fantastical ones are as powerful as the purely dramatic ones, like 4.04 "Metamorphosis," wherein Sam recognizes himself in the rugaru, or 4.19 "Jump the Shark," where Dean hates that "Adam" had everything he didn't as a child, or 6.19 "Mommy Dearest," when Sam and Dean see themselves in the young, imperilled brothers. Then again, in hindsight, "My Heart Will Go On" was perhaps less about what Sam and Dean could have been, and more about what Castiel could have done.



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