Lords of Death and Life

Have I mentioned that I have a thing for picking up comics at conventions? Because I do that a lot. One such person that I have made a habit of visiting at any convention that comes to town is Jonathan Dalton for another series.1

Last time I went, I decided to pick up Lords of Death and Life from him instead of my usual, which I have only now finished, more than half a year later. Because I am amazing at this. And the book was a lot of fun!

The thing that drew me to it2 was that it wasn’t based at all in Western culture. The story is about Mayans and Aztecs and doesn’t have any mention of Europeans in it at all, instead focusing entirely on their culture and their own gods. Or an imagined version of that.

It reads a lot like a story passed along through oral traditions, which is both good and bad to me. On the one hand, it feels really authentic and there are little touches in the art that really make it stand out. I mean, just look at the flames. They look like Mayan art. The smoke is the same. It’s small, but the detail is great.

2008-02-08-death-life08

Then again, I do have this one issue with oral tradition style stories in that it doesn’t feel finished. We have a man who travels away from his family, gets caught up in dealings involving gods, discovers he has an uay3 and there’s a subplot with a woman that feels like it was just cast aside so that the rest of the story could happen. The ending feels a lot like it stops and it leaves you wanting more when there is nothing more. In a lot of ways, it’s a pilot episode that never got picked up. And that’s disappointing.

It’s still a great read, though. Dalton does great world building and, even though there’s some issues I have with the ending, everything else in it is pretty strong.

If you want to check out this one or anything else he’s done, he has all his comics available online for free at Jonathan Dalton Comics. If you like it, do check out his shop. Support the little guys who are putting out good, interesting stuff.

 

  1. Mad Tea Party, which I will cover when I get my hands on the collection []
  2. Besides a recommendation from the artist []
  3. There’s a glossary in the back that explained it, but I was not sure what that meant reading it []

MAGFest and the New Year!

No vlog this time. It is dark in here.

MAGFest happened and I didn’t get stranded! YAY! It was fun as always, though I think I ended up spending a lot of it as down time than anything else. Overnight flights apparently wipe me out and bring back those off again on again cold symptoms I’ve been having since September. Not sick, just feeling like it.

Other than that, though, it was good! Shot a crossover that sounds like it’s almost done, as well as a commentary for a crossover from last year and spent the rest of the time mostly just hanging out with people and wandering around like I usually do at these things. Got some swag and managed to get home without incident. It was awesome, even if there are some people that I didn’t really hang out with as much as I would have liked or at all.

But with MAG over, it’s time to think about the new year. In basically February. Shut up, I know what I’m doing.

Videos! I’ll be doing them, but probably with a bit less frequency this year. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not spending as much money on comics, and the ones I am buying are long running series that don’t fit the Spoileriffic format that well, so I’m straight up running out of books to talk about. I’ll probably be doing more of the Shea vs Comics series, since that’s a lot more conversational and I can talk about things all over the place instead of just the plot.

The reason for the reduced frequency is the same reason as I stopped doing the Comic Minutes. I’m focusing on the writing a lot more. I’m planning on cutting back on the books I put out1 but I’m going to be working on a few other projects that are writing based as well.

Those who follow me on Twitter may have also seen this thing:

Yeah, I’m also starting work on a game. The game is not due to be released until late 2017 or so, if all goes well, but I’m going to be using some of the usual video production time on making it in my off hours. Two smaller versions of it will be released in the mean time2 but the full thing is going to take me a while. So I hope you guys don’t mind, but the videos are going to suffer.

The games also involve a damn lot of writing. These are seriously going to take me forever.

Lastly, I was planning to go to ConBravo! Was. I am going to have to put those plans on hold for a little while, though, because work threw me a bit of a curve ball. Apparently, we now have a cap on the number of weeks of vacation instead of earning an extra week for every year, so my original plans might have to change. Depending on what the new cap is, we will see what happens.

And that’s the new year. Wish me luck.

  1. 5 last year, only 4 this year []
  2. Yellow and blue []

Hawkeye: Vol 3 – LA Woman


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It’s a big change in a lot of ways for this issue, but it does work. In this volume, there’s almost no Clint, instead letting us follow Kate Bishop as she heads off on her own to LA to get away from the craziness that is and surrounds Clint Barton.

Which she kind of fails at, but this is Hawkeye. Of course it’s Clint’s fault.

In typical Hawkeye fashion, it’s light and it’s funny and it’s another great installment, even if I spent a large portion of it wondering where Lucky was.1 I enjoyed the police aspect of it, the “Right, it’s legal in California” twist at the end of one of the plot threads, and how all of it comes back to stuff that’s happened before, while still bringing in new elements.

Although my favourite thing is the change in the status quo of Kate. She’s not a rich kid anymore! With everything that happened and where she ends up in this book – actually able to stand on her own two feet – I wouldn’t be surprised if she got the money back again later, but it’s going to be a good arc until it happens. Hell, maybe she’ll be offered the money and turn it down.2

I thought the art looked really different in this book. It wasn’t until I was typing up the tags that I saw that there’s a different artist. Welcome to the team, Annie Wu!

  1. That dog is like me at a con, I swear []
  2. No she won’t. She will take it and use it to spite her father. []

Echo: Vol 4 – Collider


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I need to start using “Action movie version” in normal conversation.

It’s been a while since I picked up Echo, but it feels so good to finally have the rest of the series to read. I love most of the stuff Terry Moore puts out and it’s about damn time I get around to finishing this series off.

The pace on this is fantastic. Even with he cure the sick child that is humanizing one of the former antagonist interlude, there’s still information coming out along with character development.Even though I am pretty sure I had forgotten most of the plot points, I was back up to speed pretty quickly and back into the story and ready for it to keep going.

One of the issues with a story like this – one with a heavy science backing – is that it’s really easy to get lost in the technical aspects of the plot and the details that happen. Even when there’s a character there to be the audience’s eyes to make sure the characters explain things in layman’s terms, sometimes it feels patronizing. Not so much this time, with the scientists slipping back into the technical talk frequently and the audience perspective character bringing them back down to the “Action movie” version. That whole conversation was fantastic.

Not only that, but the scientific explanation also advanced the plot. We found out what the big bad of the series really was and our characters all have a concrete thing they are working towards now, which brings the whole thing together a lot better. There is a goal at the midway point, the confusion has been lifted.

And then a bunch of people die in the name of that end goal. The action picks up just as the explanations end and the setup for the second arc is done. Now all that’s left is to save the world.

Fables: Vol 20 – Camelot


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Rose is actually doing something and I am legitimately amazed. She has been moping since volume 11 or so and it is about damn time she did something. Not that she’s actually done anything yet. This is all setup for when she is going to do something.

Speaking of setup, this whole damn volume is setup. Several of the last few volumes have felt like setup. Since defeating Geppetto, this book has felt like it’s setting up for something else and has been trying out antagonists without ever bringing anything together.

Either that or it feels like this should have split into a bunch of different comics instead of one large one, despite how everything crosses over. While Rose’s story and Snow’s do have a lot of intersection, they feel completely separate. Bigby is off on his own. Winter is off on her own being awesome while still home and in bed on time. Therese is probably going to go off and have more adventures that will be completely ignored. Getting Fabletown setup and the things hiding in the castle that they haven’t found yet has been glossed over. There’s a quick single issue about a band going off and having adventures that could have been its own thing.

Without a focus, the whole thing feels disjointed. With the end of the war, there was an ending. Now it feels like it’s desperately trying to find footing again and it can’t quite get the antagonist in order to do so.

It did have the bonus of a Boy Blue cameo and Blue saying all the things I wanted him to say.1 He’s never coming back. Not really. And his death continues to actually have an emotional impact because of that. And he thinks this cult of Boy Blue is stupid too.

It is nice to see that Willingham is starting to break out of some of the habits that I’m getting irritated by. He’s starting to play with gender roles a little and Bo Peep is the first woman who is both married and might actually be able to do something non-female oriented in the plot. This might be because she doesn’t have children, but I will take what I can get at this point.2

I’m just waiting for the setup to be over. It’s gotten to the point where I’m not so much enjoying the read anymore as I’m waiting for something to happen. Like Game of Thrones, I am diligently waiting for all of this to come together and the point to reveal itself.

  1. Let’s just ignore the fact that the cameo with Dare afterwards raises so many questions, such as why Blue is still in this limbo for so long and just being ushered into the afterlife while Dare is being rushed off to the afterlife despite dying far later []
  2. Willingham probably doesn’t know many women who continue to have interests outside of their children once they give birth []

Coffin Hill: Vol 1


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I have some time off so I’m going to finally get back to working through my unreads again. Starting with this one, which I decided to pick up after reading the first issue and going, “Yep, this is going to be better as a trade.”

I was definitely right on that one. There are a lot of characters that I would have completely forgotten about going issue by issue, along with little plot points and hints here and there that would have been ignored with the break between issues. The significance of the crow, the details of bodies found, things that should have been off –  these are all small details that require this book to be done in one sitting instead of spread out.

The idea of it is a lot of fun, though that’s pretty much all it has going for it for me. There’s an old family of witches in modern day with a lot of dark history and secrets and one woman manages to get free of that life, only to go back. I’m not actually sure why Eve goes back, though. She was a cop in the city and cracked a big case, but after getting shot in the head she is off the force. There’s little bits, but there’s nothing satisfactory to say why she goes back.

It really felt like there was a lot of that. If you aren’t thinking about it much, you’ll breeze right over it, but why is there a doctor in an insane asylum carving symbols into patients? What are the symbols actually doing? Where did all these girls learn to do magic if there’s only one magic book kept at Coffin manor as far as I know? What was the thing that attacked Eve and why did it look completely different between the two confrontations?1 Why are all the women naked and useless during the finale?2

There’s some really interesting ideas here, but the execution isn’t quite there yet. I think a lot of my problem is that Eve is a bit too generic for me. She’s a bad girl because she keeps telling me she’s a bad girl. Besides trying to steal her best friend’s boyfriend, though,3 she doesn’t seem to do anything that is legitimately bad. She was a cop! She turned around her bad adolescence! Why am I supposed to believe she’s a bad girl now if she doesn’t do anything bad? And can she please have a personality that doesn’t sound like me when I was trying to be dark and mysterious as a teenager?

I might stick with it, though. I mean, by the end, there was something more to cling to than ideas. The magic and the way the world works is interesting and I am a sucker for the badass ladies doing dark magic in modern day. I hope Eve develops more of a personality4 in subsequent volumes, at least.

Also, why the mask and what is with her eye? I have way too many questions.

  1. Or was that supposed to be a different creature the second time? []
  2. Besides fanservice. []
  3. Which, is a plot point that gets mentioned a few times and never explored []
  4. Or at least grows up a little []

Day 29: Not Writing


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I am going to do a little more writing for the month tomorrow, but for now, I am not doing any writing at all. I stopped after the last book because this year I am not going to get crazy burn out. It’s weirdly difficult for me to just sit back and relax. So here’s what I did instead of writing this past little while:

Plans

I have all the writing for next year scheduled. 4 novels and 2 new arcs for Cloned Evil, which will be coming out starting next week. I have dates for when I need cover art by and when I should ask for them. I have publishing dates for everything that I’m going to be working on. The plan is set and it is DONE.

White Noise

I’ve also been working more on my 2012 novel. As in, I’ve been working on laying the thing out for print. I have the cover made from a while back and the interiors are all formatted using half the novels in my house as reference for how to style everything. It’s just about done, pending Amazon giving me the okay for it and then me ordering a proof copy and going through it again myself.1

I also knocked the price of the ebook down for Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Self promotion!

Ontario

Lastly, I have spent a damn lot of time thinking about and checking the budgeting and funds and whatnot for a potential trip to Ontario. I think I should be able to make it out for ConBravo and manage to turn it into an all out 2 week vacation, depending on what funds look like after MAGFest. And then I say that, I mean I have flights and hotels planned that I have not yet purchased, plus started trying to work out a schedule and looked up transit routes to get to places.

This is how I keep myself from writing, people.

  1. Update: Apparently I get to order proofs tonight. []

Day 22: Winding Down

No photo today because I am a lazy bum who needed to take it easy for a few days. It’s hitting that part of the month where I’m getting really tired and I realize that I’ve been pushing myself way too hard. I didn’t write yesterday and today I am going to try to finish up the book.

And after this? Taking it super easy.

I might start working on Cloned Evil a little, but I’m slowing the hell down and I’m going to probably not be writing a whole lot for the rest of the month. At two books, my goal for the month will be done.

Also, this book had super depressing undertones which didn’t help matters when coupled with work. So there’s that.

Word Count: 128271

“And what will you do when they come back for you?” the Cheshire Cat asked as she started wandering. “And make no mistake, your friends will turn on you again.”

“I’ll deal with it when it happens,” Alice said, continuing to walk. She was distracted. A mirror. She needed one she could bring back. The glassy surface of the lake would not cut it this time. Nor would this shiny sheet of ice.

“Still so sure that they will help,” Cat said.

“I only need to survive until the end of the school year,” Alice told him. “After that, it won’t matter anymore.”

“Is that when you give up?” Cat asked. She could almost hear the sneer in his voice as he spoke.

“Yes.”

Cat didn’t follow her after that.