Thursday, May 22, 2008

Locke & Load, Baby!

If you've been listening to the show, yol know that we've been pimping IDWs Locke & Key on Market Spotlight since January 8, 2008. (a month before the first issue shipped) This is the comics debut of critically acclaimed novelist Joe Hill, also known as Stephen King's kid.

Let's get right to the point - Locke & Key just went BOOM. Over the past seven days, Issue # 1 has been fetching $25-$50, and issues 2-3 have been spiking toward $15-$25 an issue. If you took our advice and ordered multiple copies of these books, you're sitting on a little pile of dynamite right now.

Hard to say how things will shake out since we're only at the birthing stages right now. Issue # 1 is king for the moment, but I'm not sure that it will stay that way. The print run on # 1 was 7,559 copies, and we now know that issue # 2 went down to 6,122 orders. No hard data on # 3 yet, but it certainly appears to be the most difficult issue of the series to find up for sale, even if it isn't commanding the bigger dollars yet.

Should you sell your copies now? In a word, fucking yes. The closest parallel we have for this book in my mind is the original 30 Days of Night mini. We're already approaching those figures on Locke & Key, so there is no good sense in getting greedy.

IDW has begun to reprint the issues, and you know there is a TPB coming. Both of those factors should bring prices back down to earth a bit.

I fully endorse buying any of the first three issues at double cover and dumping them immediately. And remember - IDW has been going back to press. If you want to sell for a profit, make sure you've got a first print in your hands. Open up the book and look at the small gobbledygook on the first page. Comics are more honest then people. They'll tell you right up front if their an original or not.

Incidentally, the real reason we're seeing this spike is that the print runs are microscopic and the story is bloody good. Hill has a real gift for dialogue, creating tension, and telling a story with a well-paced plan. It's comics done right.

- Ryan

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Chronic Iron Man Review

Because absolutely no one demanded it, you must now suffer a full review of the new Iron Man picture as experienced by me, the David Lee Roth of Podcasting. And we begin...

I must preface my review by placing the screening in it's social and medical context. I saw this film after eating a substantial amount of Mongolian stir-fry. It was prepared by a nationally ranked stir-fry champion sporting a moustache that was also elite. I believe that said moustache was probably the 5th most powerful in the continental United States, slightly behind Rollie Fingers but inching ahead of the waning Tom Selleck.

Please also understand that I had been afflicted with dysentery that day. My intestinal contents had already staged no less than three separate coups that day, and guerrilla Mongolian stir-fry rebels did indeed stage a fourth assault on my savaged arse about an hour into the movie. So I should have been in a less than receptive mood for this thing.

Let me tell you that Iron Man was goddamn awesome.

I think that the two greatest pitfalls of superhero cinema are A) getting caught up in slapping in any name brand talent regardless of the fit and B) getting caught up in comic book origin elements instead of telling a coherent, satisfying story. Iron Man side-stepped both land mines quite nicely, thank you very much.

Downey (probably to his detriment) was born to play this role. A good Tony Stark must be able to simultaneously exude a talented presence while also representing a stone pimp. Check and check. Paltrow brings a nice quiet dignity to Pepper, and Jeff "The Dude" Bridges was surprisingly effective at bringing a sense of underlying menace to Obadiah Stane, even while sharing pizza.

It's not enough to have name brand talent in your film. Ben Affleck and Colin Farrell are both plenty good at whatever it is they do. Being Daredevil and Bullseye just aint it. Marvel was smart enough to put round pegs in round holes. Thank you for that.

Apart from Spider-Man 2, I think that Iron Man provides the most satisfying story that any comic-born movie has produced yet. Maybe it's even better. Without ruining too many plot details, the film is essentially an updated but centrally faithful origin story from the earliest Tales to Astonish material plus a leap forward into a confrontation that happens around Iron Man 200.

What's important here is that all of the character moments happen organically inside of a coherent story that moves forward and makes consistent sense. It's a formula that's just wacky enough to work.

I think the X-Men films in particular get bogged down in proving that they recognize all the "cool" character traits they came from, and somewhere along the way forget to tell a story that feels satisfying. What I mean to say is - take away the special attraction a comic book reader has previously attached to the characters, and would you really want to watch any of those films? I wouldn't.

Iron Man can absolutely be enjoyed by just about anybody, whether they have picked up a comic book or not. Whether they have previously cared about Iron Man or not. What Marvel was smart enough to do here is to find a charismatic guy with flaws and then build an atonement story around it.

You love to watch him make an ass out of himself, because he does it with such skill. You love to watch him try to rise above all that nonsense, because it makes him human.

And in the meantime there are plenty of action sequences (that also make organic sense inside of the story) and the special effects are top notch, which is what you'd expect from ILM.

While I'm busy sucking people off here, let me add Jon Favreau to the list. I have to assume that many of the choices I've been lauding were his. Let's add the four-headed monster of Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, and Matt Holloway as well. This was the writing team, and I can't say enough about their pacing and dialogue.

As I type this, Iron Man has been in the theater for 6 days and has grossed $220 million worldwide. This is going straight into Marvel's pockets now that they're brewing their own films in-house. They really assembled a perfect storm here, and it will surprise some to recognize that this movie is going to earn more for the company than all of their comics for the year combined.

These results are going to have Marvel taking in far revenue than projected, as predicted in Market Spotlight a few months back. Had you taken the advice and bought up some MVL stock back then, you'd have taken a nice little ride from $28 to $33. If the Hulk film delivers similar numbers, expect that to spike even further.

More importantly, though, we must recognize the unique talents of Sarah Cahill, also known as "Hot Stewardess # 3". No truer title could have been chosen. She's the blonde hot stewardess, was Miss Minnesota in 2003, and was created in a lab dedicated to producing Hot Stewardesses in Waseca.

To recap, Iron Man gets five lumps of scrap Palladium out of five. See it. Love it. And pray that Hulk is even close to this good...

- Ryan

Who controls Gemini?

I have been waiting for this comic to come out since I started reading Dynamo 5. I really like Faerber as a storyteller and in this comic he doesn't disappoint. The dialog is pretty good and it's filled with intrigue and mystery. The artwork reminds me of Xombie reanimated but it doesn't detract from the storyline at all.

The first issue leaves a few unanswered questions so I can't get into much detail cause I don't really know a lot of them. From what I gathered a team of individuals actually activate and control a powerful super-hero named Gemini. It seems to be a hypnotic suggestion cause they constantly elude to him not remembering what he does during the night. One of the controllers, named 91, is assigned to controlling and watching Gemini. She has some new ideas on how to do this apparently.

Up until the point of the story in the comic we find out they only do nocturnal operations. However on this day there is a big mid-day scuffle that Gemini is needed for. With that he is activated while at lunch from his normal cubicle day to day job. He enters the fight and ends up saving a few other super-heroes that he apparently knows. One named Venture and another which is a very attractive female super which we don't quite get the name of. At least not that I can remember, I was too busy looking at her ass.

This unnamed female hero ends up hitting on Gemini big time and he seems to have no idea how to respond to her. He seems to be a in virgin territory when talking to women. I like this part of the story, it gives the character some realism. There are a few moments of comedy during this part where the controllers, who see through his eyes, get a close up vision of the womans breasts as Gemini stares at them. It's a good moment and adds levity to the situation that is about to transpire.

SPOILER ALERT! Don't read past this point if you want to read the comic and be surprised.

After saving his fellow Supers from a big mid-day battle, 91 is ordered to deactivate Gemini. She decides to watch him for a while instead. Gemini finds a small crime happening in an alleyway below the building he is standing on. Gemini goes down to stop the woman from being assaulted by this huge brute of a guy. As he pulls the giant man from the girl/woman he doesn't notice the large woman with the shotgun come out of a door in the alleyway. She is just trying to stop Gemini from hurting the man and 91 just wants to see what will happen is she lets Gemini do his own thing without controlling him.

That's a bad plan cause while she watches Gemini she sees a bright white light and the screen goes to static. As the reader of the comic we get to see that Gemini has just gotten his head blown off with the shotgun. So much for the star of the comic being alive? What the heck are they going to do now? It's a pretty shocking ending to this comic. I LOVED IT!

Artwork - 2.5 stars. It's an interesting look and definitely doesn't detract from the comic itself. I actually liked it after the tenth page or so and didn't even notice it.

Storyline - 4 stars. This isn't Thoreau or anything, but I think it's worth a read. Go out and grab it, at least it's not Marvel or DC. Amen brother!