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Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography - James D. Hudnall Eduardo Barreto

Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography - James D. Hudnall Eduardo Barreto

By Arion in Blog on October 24, 2012

Eric Peterson (cover / portada)“Money is what makes the world spin around”. How often have we heard that phrase? And more importantly, do we consider that to be true? Lex Luthor would surely think so. After all, he is one of the world’s wealthiest men. But how did it all begin? How did this man make billions of dollars in less than a decade? Peter Sands, a washed-up journalist, an alcoholic, a loser, needs to desperately find an answer to these questions if he wants to salvage his reputation.In Sands “Unauthorized Biography” we discover Luthor’s secrets, but we also understand his motivations. Before John Byrne revamped the Superman universe, Lex Luthor had been portrayed as the typical crazy scientist ready to attack the Man of Steel with a killing robot or with a 500 megaton nuclear device. After Byrne’s renovation of the Superman mythos, Luthor was transformed into a complex character, a successful businessman that preferred more subtle tactics to destroy Superman’s life instead of the predictable direct confrontation that was common in earlier incarnations of the character. More cerebral than ever, Superman’s nemesis also became the embodiment of perversion. When Luthor hires expensive prostitutes and makes them wear exotic lingerie he turns them into objects. But, as we delve into his past, we learn that as a high school boy he used to mistreat girls and as an adult he would torture his girlfriends. Peter SandsEveryone in Metropolis, perhaps everyone in the United States, regards Luthor as a benefactor, as a philanthropist, as the motor behind economic and employment growth. As a pervert he can be a pillar of society, perfectly well adapted, cherished even. His transgression of moral laws is not subversive, on the contrary, as far as Luthor is concerned, the conflict between desire and law is resolved by making desire the law of his acts.In the mind of the pervert, there is no such thing as a repressed desire; desire is, in fact, the law. Luthor embraces the reverse side of morals in the form of the demand: “Enjoy! Thou shalt covet thy neighbor's wife”. Lex Luthor will fulfill his wishes elegantly in society, “there is a time and a place for everything”, and this wealthy man knows how to keep certain actions in secret and how to be charming in public. Peter Sands begins his investigation under one auspicious premise: all rich men have skeletons in their closet. Nevertheless, he cannot fathom the horrors he will uncover. As he visits the Suicide Slum -Metropolis equivalent to Hell’s Kitchen- he finds all the missing pieces of the puzzle. As a teenager, Lex Luthor murdered both his parents and cashed the insurance policy he himself had set up. His talent and his genius mind were enough to turn that money into one successful entrepreneur venture after another; eventually, he would be the funder and CEO of Lexcorp, one of the world’s largest and most powerful companies.After Peter Sands interviews a former Luthor operative, he witnesses the man’s demise. And at that moment he understands he might just as well signed a death warrant for all the men and women he has interviewed so far, and what is worse, he has unwillingly committed suicide. Indeed, Luthor’s men are looking for him. Desperate, Peter Sands contacts Clark Kent, and begs him to get Superman’s help. Although Superman intends to help, a massive earthquake in Japan distracts him. In the meantime, Peter Sands is murdered by Luthor’s henchmen.Since Clark Kent was the last one to see Peter Sands alive he’s taken into interrogation and is considered a homicide suspect. This is one of those rare cases, very rare cases, in which the villain in a superhero comic book actually wins. Luthor eliminates all the evidence that Sands had found, thus forever erasing his brutal past. Killing Sands and incriminating Kent is also a brilliant move. At the end, even if he’s Superman, Clark Kent has no other choice but to accept the help of a Lexcorp’s attorney, who advices Kent to collaborate with the Metropolis tycoon in future endeavors.  Suicide Slum / Barrio SuicidaI consider this one of the best Superman stories, or rather one of the best Lex Luthor stories since the creation of the character. After half a century of mindless fights between a superpowered man from Krypton and a bald scientist, it took the talent of writer James D. Hudnall to create a truly terrifying story about Lex Luthor. In recent years, most authors have confused wealth with softness, and Luthor has turned into the kind of villain most people tend not to pay attention to. Although James D. Hudnall isn’t as prolific as other authors, his work is of extraordinary quality (“Red Glass” or “The Psycho” are also powerful and intense stories that everyone should read). “Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography” was published as a graphic novel in prestige format in 1989. With high production values this one-shot required a great artistic team. Eduardo Barreto, a wonderful Uruguayan artist, penciled and inked these pages, which were colored by Adam Kubert. I’m including a page in which we get to see Peter Sands surrounded by liquor and vomiting in his bathroom; in the following page we can observe the ugly side of Metropolis as Sands walks around the Suicide Slum (prostitution and drug-addiction are very common in this miserable urban area); in subsequent pages we have a flashback that shows us Lex Luthor’s childhood and adolescence; the composition of the final page is especially striking, first we have the silhouette of Lex Luthor smoking a cigar, in an elegant game of shadows; with a great contrast, Barreto reinforces the sinister aspect of the business man. Throughout the comic book, Eduardo Barreto includes very interesting details, in some cases they are of a more ornamental nature (such as the delinquents we get to see in the Suicide Slum), in other cases the details reveal information about the author, for instance, as Peter Sands rings the bell in an apartment building we get to see the names of several tenants who, in real life, are the artists that inspired Barreto: Alex Toth, Alex Raymond, Harold Foster and Russ Manning. I’ve often tried to include similar ‘Easter eggs’ on my own comic books. Eduardo Barreto passed away in December 2011. I wanted to write something about him but for some reason I didn’t have the chance to do so. I feel like I owed a debt to an artist that had illustrated one of my favorite Lex Luthor stories (as well as several issues of “Atari Force” and “Legion of Super-Heroes” which I tremendously enjoyed as a child) and so today, finally, I pay homage to his work.__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________"El dinero es lo que hace que el mundo siga girando". ¿Qué tan a menudo hemos escuchado esta frase? Y, más importante aún, ¿consideramos que es cierta? Seguramente, para Lex Luthor sí lo sería. Después de todo, él es uno de los hombres más acaudalados del mundo. Pero ¿cómo empezó todo? ¿Cómo este hombre logró amasar billones de dólares en menos de una década? Peter Sands, un periodista fracasado, un alcohólico, un perdedor, necesita desesperadamente encontrar una respuesta a estas preguntas si es que quiere salvar su reputación. Researching Luthor's childhood / investigando la infancia de LuthorEn la "Biografía no autorizada" de Sands, descubrimos los secretos de Luthor, pero también entendemos sus motivaciones. Antes que John Byrne renovara el universo de Superman, Lex Luthor había sido retratado como el típico científico loco listo para atacar al Hombre de Acero con un robot asesino o un artefacto nuclear de 500 megatones. Luego de la renovación de Byrne, Luthor se transformó en un personaje complejo, un hombre de negocios exitoso que prefería tácticas más sutiles para destruir la vida de Superman en lugar de las predecibles confrontaciones directas que eran comunes en la versión antigua del personaje.Más cerebral que nunca, el némesis de Superman también se convirtió en la encarnación de la perversión. Cuando Luthor contrata a costosas prostitutas y las hace usar lencería exótica, las convierte en objetos. Pero, al hurgar en su pasado nos damos cuenta que cuando era un estudiante también maltrataba a las chicas y como adulto torturaba a sus enamoradas.Todos en Metrópolis, tal vez todos en Estados Unidos, admiran a Luthor como un benefactor, un filántropo, como el motor detrás del crecimiento de la economía y del empleo. Como perverso, él puede ser un pilar de la sociedad, perfectamente bien adaptado, incluso apreciado. Su trasgresión de las leyes morales no es subversiva, al contrario, en lo que respecta a Luthor, el conflicto entre el deseo y la ley se resuelve convirtiendo su deseo en ley.En la mente del perverso, no existe el deseo reprimido; el deseo es, de hecho, la norma. Luthor abrasa el reverso de la moral en forma de demanda: "Goza. Codicia a la mujer del prójimo". Lex Luthor cumplirá sus deseos elegantemente en sociedad "hay un momento y un lugar para todas las cosas", y este billonario sabe cómo mantener ciertos actos en secreto y cómo ser encantador en público.Peter Sands comienza su investigación bajo una auspiciosa premisa: todos los ricos tienen un pasado turbio. No obstante, él no puede imaginar los horrores que está por descubrir. Cuando visita el Barrio Suicida -el equivalente en Metrópolis a la Cocina del Infierno- encuentra las piezas claves del rompecabezas. Cuando era un adolescente, Lex Luthor asesinó a sus padres y cobró la póliza del seguro que él mismo había preparado. Su talento y su mente de genio fueron suficientes para convertir ese dinero en una empresa exitosa tras otra; eventualmente, sería el dueño y fundador de Lexcorp, una de las compañías más grandes y poderosas del mundo. Luthor remembering the past / Luthor recordando el pasadoDespués que Peter Sands entrevista a un ex-empleado de Luthor, es testigo del asesinato de este hombre. Y en ese momento entiende que en la práctica ha firmado una sentencia de muerte para todos los hombres y mujeres que ha entrevistado hasta ese momento y, lo que es peor, ha cometido un suicidio involuntario. De hecho, los hombres de Luthor lo están buscando. Desesperado, Peter Sands contacta con Clark Kent, y le ruega que consiga ayuda de parte de Superman. Aunque la intención de Superman es ayudar, un gran terremoto en Japón lo distrae. En ese momento, Peter Sands es asesinado por los secuaces de Luthor.Clark Kent fue la última persona que vio a Peter Sands con vida así es que es sometido a una interrogación y es considerado como sospechoso de homicidio. Este es uno de esos raros casos, muy raros casos, en los que el villano de un cómic de súper-héroes gana de verdad. Luthor elimina toda la evidencia que Sands había encontrado, borrando para siempre su brutal pasado. Matar a Sands e incriminar a Kent es también una jugada brillante. Al final, incluso si él es Superman, Clark Kent no tiene otra opción que aceptar la ayuda de una abogada de Lexcorp; ella le recomienda a Kent que colabore con el magnate de Metrópolis en futuras ocasiones.Considero que esta es una de las mejores historias de Superman, o más bien una de las mejores historias de Lex Luthor desde la creación del personaje. Después de medio siglo de peleas tontas entre un superhombre de Krypton y un científico calvo, sólo el talento del escritor James D. Hudnall podía crear una historia verdaderamente escalofriante sobre Lex Luthor. En años recientes, la mayoría de autores ha confundido el dinero de Luthor con una debilidad, y Luthor se ha convertido en un villano al que pocos le prestan atención. Aunque James D. Hudnall no es tan prolífico como otros autores, su trabajo es de una calidad extraordinaria (“Vidrio Rojo” o “El psicópata” también son historias poderosas e intensas que todos deberían leer). “Lex Luthor: la biografía no autorizada” se publicó como una novela gráfica en formato prestigio en 1989. Una producción de primer nivel requería un gran equipo artístico. Eduardo Barreto, un maravilloso artista uruguayo, dibujó estas páginas, que fueron coloreadas por Adam Kubert. Estoy incluyendo una página en la que vemos a Peter Sands rodeado de licor y vomitando en el baño; en la página siguiente podemos observar el lado feo de Metrópolis mientras Sands camina por el Barrio Suicida (la prostitución y la drogadicción son comunes en esta miserable área urbana); en páginas subsiguientes tenemos un flashback que nos muestra la infancia y la adolescencia de Lex Luthor; la composición de la página final es especialmente exquisita, primero tenemos la silueta de Lex Luthor fumando un habano, en un elegante juego de sombras; con gran contraste, Barreto refuerza el aspecto siniestro de este hombre de negocios. A lo largo del cómic, Eduardo Barreto incluye detalles muy interesantes, en algunos casos de naturaleza más ornamental (como los delincuentes que vemos en el Barrio Suicida), en otros casos los detalles revelan información sobre el autor, por ejemplo, cuando Peter Sands toca el timbre de un edificio vemos los nombres de varios inquilinos que, en la vida real, son los artistas que inspiraron a Barreto: Alex Toth, Alex Raymond, Harold Foster y Russ Manning. A menudo he intentado incluir este tipo de guiños al lector en mis propios cómics.Eduardo Barreto falleció en diciembre del 2011. Quise escribir algo sobre él pero por alguna razón no tuve la oportunidad de hacerlo. Siento que tenía una deuda con un artista que había ilustrado una de mis historias favoritas de Lex Luthor (así como varios cómics de “Atari Force” y “Legión de Súper-Héroes” que disfruté tremendamente de niño) y así, hoy día, finalmente rindo homenaje a su obra.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/lex-luthor-unauthorized-biography-james.html

Brilliant # 4 - Bendis Bagley

Brilliant # 4 - Bendis Bagley

By Arion in Blog on October 22, 2012

AmadeusI am enjoying Brilliant for reasons that would appear unclear to most readers. There is something special about this creator-owned series. Neither the action nor the violence would suffice to keep me interested. I think what Brian Michael Bendis accomplishes here is an appropriate balance between powers and the real world. He has really thought things through. And in this fourth chapter the narrative unfolds in a most unexpected way.Faithful to the premises of the series, Bendis keeps reminding us that this is the real world. We had already seen Amadeus using his superpowers to rob a bank and then a casino. He thought he had gotten away with it. But money always leaves a trail. And eventually he’s cornered by the FBI. In a couple of great double page spreads, penciler Mark Bagley and inker Joe Rubinstein take us to the heart of the storm. And we see chaos and destruction. el corazón de la tormenta / the heart of the stormAmadeus might personify today’s cynic youth, but he is also the epitome of selfishness. His motivations are wrong, and perhaps his love for money is a way of sublimating his sexual lust and his disrespect for moral codes. After all, as Izzy recalls, Amadeus’s father was a criminal, and wouldn’t it be deliciously Oedipal for the kid to step into his father’s shoes?  Surely Amadeus lacks the spiritual elevation of the conventional hero, and that made of him a very captivating character. naked power / poder al desnudoBefore his untimely demise, Amadeus is stark naked and radiant; his energy glow is almost blinding. It’s a strange thing of beauty and yet something completely lethal. In seconds, he annihilates several police officers. As Slavoj Žižek would explain “cynicism mocks the public Law from the position of its obscene underside”, there is certainly an “inherent obscenity of Power in a most distastefully-enjoyable way”. With his dangling penis and his lethal lightning bolts, Amadeus is both, the erotic side of youth and the grotesque excess of power.  Ultimately, this obscenity must be punished by society. And so it’s an FBI agent who blows his brains off. Amadeus is dead. Which is only logical considering the premises established in the first issue of “Brilliant”. Izzy, Kindred, Albert and Marie knew things would end badly. And as they are interrogated by the FBI, a few questions remain... what will be the repercussions of Amadeus’s death? Who will be the next superpowered kid? How will the FBI approach a threat they are only beginning to understand? And, finally, how will the world change now that being a superhuman is possible?  __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Albert and the press / Albert y la prensaEstoy disfrutando "Brilliant" por razones poco comunes. Esta colección de autor tiene algo especial. Ni la acción ni la violencia bastarían para mantenerme interesado. Creo que lo que Brian Michael Bendis logra aquí es balancear de modo apropiado los poderes y el mundo real. Ha pensado en todo. Y en este cuarto capítulo el hilo narrativo se desenvuelve de un modo más que inesperado.Fiel a las premisas de la serie, Bendis nos sigue recordando que este es el mundo real. Ya habíamos visto a Amadeus usando sus súper-poderes para robar un banco y luego un casino. Él pensaba que lo había logrado. Pero el dinero siempre deja un rastro. Y, eventualmente, el FBI lo acorrala. En un par de grandiosas páginas dobles, Mark Bagley (lápices) y Joe Rubinstein (tintas) nos llevan al corazón de la tormenta. Y vemos el caos y la destrucción.Puede que Amadeus personifique a la juventud cínica de hoy, pero también es el epítome del egoísmo. Sus motivaciones son erradas, y tal vez su amor por el dinero sea un modo de sublimar sus ansias sexuales y su falta de respeto por los códigos morales. Después de todo, como recuerda Izzy  el padre de Amadeus era un criminal, ¿y no sería deliciosamente edípico que el muchacho usurpara el lugar del padre? Seguramente, Amadeus carece del espíritu elevado del héroe convencional, y eso hacía de él un personaje muy cautivador. my drawing / mi dibujoAntes de su prematura muerte, Amadeus está totalmente desnudo y radiante; su brillo energético es casi cegador. Es un objeto de extraña belleza y no obstante completamente letal. En segundos, aniquila a varios policías. Tal como explicaría Slavoj Žižek "el cinismo de mofa de la Ley pública desde la posición de su reverso obsceno", hay ciertamente una "obscenidad inherente al poder que se expresa mediante el goce-rechazo". Con su pene colgante y sus letales rayos de energía, Amadeus es ambos, el lado erótico de la juventud y el exceso grotesco del poder.En última instancia, esta obscenidad debe ser castigada por la sociedad. Así que un agente del FBI le hace estallar el cráneo. Amadeus está muerto. Algo lógico si consideramos las premisas establecidas en el primer número de “Brilliant”. Izzy, Kindred, Albert y Marie sabían que las cosas terminarían mal. Y al ser interrogados por el FBI, quedan algunas preguntas... ¿cuáles serán las repercusiones de la muerte de Amadeus? ¿Quién será el próximo chico con súper-poderes? ¿Cómo enfrentará el FBI una amenaza que apenas pueden comprender? Y, finalmente, ¿cómo cambiará el mundo ahora que ser sobrehumano es posible?Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/brilliant-4-bendis-bagley.html

Review: Off Road

Review: Off Road

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 21, 2012

Cover Sean Murphy brings us the story of a group of friends that need to overcome some recent bad luck and personal issues.Trent the art student that's never had much luck in the love department, Greg the rich boy of the group but with a empty life and Brad the tough guy with family problems reunite after Trent is dumped again.When they get together what better way to lift their spirits than to go off-roading in Greg's brand new yellow Jeep?And this will be a day they will never forget.How good is it?Off Road is all about healing emotional wounds, growing up and making friends. Sean Murphy does an excellent job in putting this book together. He tells us a story about these three high school friends that reunite when Trent gets dumped again.Murphy keeps away from the most common plot pits and cliches, and the book profits from that. The story is always fresh and original from the beginning to end. Sure, there are a few predictable events in it, but nothing big and nothing that will take you out of the story.I'm always suspicious of books where the author does everything. Usually we only get one good aspect, but in this case my suspicions were proven unfounded. Sean Murphy did a excellent work on the art department, as could be expected, and on the writing department he did a very good job. The book is very dynamic. The art conveys very well the speed and bumpiness of the off road bits and the dialog is a delight to read.If I had to point out something I didn't enjoy as much, it had to be the backgrounds, or lack of them for the most part. Even for a B&W book they're to lacking, but this is a minor thing, mostly unnoticeable.In the end, you'll enjoy Trent's journey into self-esteem, Brad's leaning to deal with his Dad and Greg's lesson on enjoy life beyond the family money. And they do earn the mud on that yellow Jeep.On a personal note, the last guy that tried to sell me a house was, right to the soul patch, exactly equal to the car salesman that sold Greg his yellow Jeep. But... Who is Larry? Beat your Jeep! Would I recommend it?I highly recommend this graphic novel. There really isn't any truly negative point to this book. I'm not saying its perfect, of course not, but it is very enjoyable on all levels. The plot is a simple, straightforward and engaging story, the art is very good and conveys the story pace very well, and both combined build a great reading experience.Either you're a fan of Sean Murphy, black and white art, simple stories or not, you will find something here to enjoy.Also it will make for a great gift (not for me, I already have one). Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-off-road.html

Supercrooks # 4 - Mark Millar Leinil Francis Yu

Supercrooks # 4 - Mark Millar Leinil Francis Yu

By Arion in Blog on October 20, 2012

Johnny Bolt has a perfect plan to steal 800 million dollars from the world’s richest villain. And he has assembled his old colleagues to perform this ambitious task that no one else dared to imagine. In this double-sized final issue, we get to see, step by step, Johnny’s ingenious stratagems. His formidable team has the necessary abilities to break through the hundreds of deathtraps in the mansion they are about to raid.It has been such a joy to observe the way in which Millar resolves the constant obstacles that hinder the heroes or, in this case, the villains path to success (my favorite scene during the robbery would be the one devoted to the indestructible brothers). Although most fascinating of all is the conversation held with the owner of the fortune they are about to take. As a famous criminal, this man has spent his entire life collecting material objects and money, and now that he has it all, he feels just as miserable as he felt decades ago when he took his first steps towards delinquency.    Perhaps I should highlight theories vis-à-vis regarding the nature of theft; while some might think that the old man is the quintessential villain, others might see in him ambition at its most primal level. Johnny Bolt and his men exemplify how one can work with the most unrestrained individuals, hold them accountable, and do so without compromising the mission. Throughout this action-packed final chapter, Millar graces the tongue of their characters with the dirtiest sex jokes and funniest comments. And the humor continues to the very last page (and that includes Gladiator’s gay parade). In this issue Leinil Francis Yu shows all his skills as a penciler, giving us, for instance, a great sequence in which one of the vault’s door is yanked out of its frames, another one in which the indestructible men get cut to pieces (actually, there are several of those) and, of course, Gladiator’s gay parade. As a bonus material, this final issue includes a preview of “Children of Jupiter”, the next miniseries by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely (which will be published by Image next year); and also the “Milla in Manila”, one of the most fascinating journey chronicles I’ve read in years. With unbeatable humor, Mark Millar tells us about his rather surreal visit to Manila (Philippines). Anyway, in case you missed the previous posts about Supercrooks you can check them out in the following links: Supercrooks # 1, Supercrooks # 2 & Supercrooks # 3____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Johnny Bolt tiene el plan perfecto para robarle al villano más rico del mundo 800 millones de dólares. Y ha reunido a sus viejos colegas para realizar esta ambiciosa tarea que nadie más se atrevería a imaginar. En este número final con doble cantidad de páginas, llegamos a ver, paso a paso, las ingeniosas estratagemas de Johnny. Su formidable equipo tiene las habilidades necesarias para escapar del centenar de trampas mortales de la mansión que están por saquear.Ha sido un tremendo disfrute observar el modo el que Millar resuelve los constantes obstáculos que impide que los héroes o, en este caso, los villanos alcancen el camino al éxito (mi escena favorita durante el robo es la dedicada a los hermanos indestructibles). Aunque lo más fascinante de todo es la conversación que sostiene el dueño de la fortuna que está a punto de ser arrebatada. Al ser un criminal famoso, este hombre ha gastado toda su vida coleccionando objetos materiales y dinero, y ahora que lo tiene todo, se siente tan miserable como se sentía hace décadas cuando dio sus primeros pasos en el mundo de la delincuencia. Tal vez debería resaltar el contraste entre teorías sobre la naturaleza del robo; mientras algunos podrían pensar que este viejo es la quintaesencia del villano, otros podría ver en él la ambición en su nivel más primordial. Johnny Bolt y sus hombres ejemplifican cómo uno puede trabajar con individuos sin restricciones, hacerlos responsables, y lograrlo sin poner en riesgo la misión.En este capítulo final de pura acción, Millar bendice la lengua de sus personajes con las bromas sexuales más sucias y los comentarios más divertidos. Y el humor continúa hasta la última página (y eso incluye el desfile gay de Gladiator). En este número Leinil Francis Yu muestra toda su habilidad como dibujante, dándonos, por ejemplo, una gran secuencia en la que una de las puertas de la bóveda es arrancada de sus goznes, otra en la que los hombres indestructibles son cortados a pedazos (de hecho, son varias escenas) y, desde luego, el desfile gay de Gladiator. my drawing / mi dibujoComo material extra, esta entrega final incluye un adelanto de los "Hijos de Júpiter", la próxima miniserie de Mark Millar y Frank Quitely (que será publicada por Image el próximo año); y también “Milla en Manila”, una de las más fascinantes crónicas de viaje que he leído en años. Con invencible humor, Mark Millar nos cuenta su surrealista visita a  Manila (Filipinas). En fin, en caso que se perdieran los posts anteriores sobre "Supercrooks" pueden encontrarlos en los siguientes links: Supercrooks # 1, Supercrooks # 2 & Supercrooks # 3Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/supercrooks-4-mark-millar-leinil.html

Review: Demon Knights Volume 1 - Seven Against the Dark

Review: Demon Knights Volume 1 - Seven Against the Dark

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 19, 2012

Cover Set in the dark ages, Demon Knights Volume one - Seven Against the Dark is a book about how seven very different characters banded together to fight a evil force bent on destroying everything in its path.A demon bound to a human, a sorcerer  an amazon, a knight, a engineer, a archer and a immortal will come together to overcome a common threat, treason and bash a lot of heads in.And thus the Demon Knights are born.How good is it?Demon Knights Volume one Seven Against the Dark brings us the story of how the Demon Knights came to be together. A young Jason Blood with a hatred for Merlin and Etrigan the demon, an edgier and manipulative Madame Xanadu, a surprisingly cheerful immortal Vandal Savage, the mysterious Shiny Knight, the obscure Horsewoman, Al Jabr the engineer/scientist and Exoristos a Wonder Woman like character are the seven against the dark.Paul Cornell brings us a good fantasy story in a cool setting with fun a interesting characters. The biggest problem is that if you are familiar with DC Universe's previous incarnation continuity its difficult to digest Cornell's Madame Xanadu and Vandal Savage characterization. Its not that they're not interesting characters, they are, but they just aren't the ones I remembered. Savage is a big oaf that solves most of his problems with his fist and with a big smile on his big hairy face, instead of a master planner with all the time in the world that created the super-speed drug. In Demon knights Xanadu is a manipulative powerful sorcerer that lead on Jason Blood and Etrigan to some unknown reason. In the old DC Universe, by this time she was sweet depowered forest nymph.The story itself its a nice little twist of fate that brings all these characters together and unites them against a evil foe that threatens all. There is a little bit of everything. Drama, comedy, lots of action, sorcery, treason and lots of build up for the following book.The part I enjoyed the most are the new characters. Especially Exoristos, The Horsewoman and The Shiny Knight. This last one might not be a new character per se, but this incarnation spiked my interest. Great thing might come from exploring these character's background.On the art department Diogenes Neves does a great job bringing this medieval story to life. His pencils really add something to this book. I especially love the faces. They're really expressive. The panel dynamic is good but nothing groundbreaking. I would buy more books with pencils by Neves. Exoristos showing who's boss Savage preparing dinnerWould I recommend it?While this first volume of Demon Knights isn't brilliant, it is a good fantasy book. If we take the DC old Universe continuity out of the equation its a very enjoyable book. It has a nice plot, vibrating art, good pace and its an adventure story with romance, action and (a little) drama. If the mischaracterization of some characters isn't an issue for you and if fantasy books are your thing, then you should get this. If not then you should spend your money elsewhere. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-demon-knights-volume-1-seven.html

Carlos Bardales - La morada del Rayo y el Amaru (Galería Enlace)

Carlos Bardales - La morada del Rayo y el Amaru (Galería Enlace)

By Arion in Blog on October 19, 2012

The Living End (1992)Directed by Gregg Araki Hugo SalazarGregg Araki is a brilliant director that finds in subversive and polemic subjects a complexity and richness that would pass unnoticed for other filmmakers."The Living End" is a story that deals with death. However, unlike most movies Araki has found a balance between Freudian Eros and Thanatos. The life drive and the death drive are equally as important for Jon and Luke, the protagonists. They alternately assume different roles regarding impeding death. For Jon, at first, is denial when he confronts the fact that he has AIDS. He trusts in his doctor's words when is told that this diagnosis does not equal a death sentence. Not just yet anyway. Luke, on the other hand, has a clear self-destructive tendency; he seems to be wandering off amidst repellent streets and dangerous highways, with no goals and no real desire.They meet. They have sex. But here sex is devoid of the Freudian libido. Sex at first may be a consequence of the life drive but ultimately it's but an act of despair, it's the result of an undeniable lack of hope. And what is hope in the end? Is it an abstract concept or rather the force that prevent us from languishing in a situation in which our success is never guaranteed? I'd venture to say that hope comes down to one element: creation. And it's clear for the viewers that Jon and Luke will never be able to create a life together, their existence has already been forfeit. "Afterlife is just this pathetic notion people cling to in order to avoid confronting their own mortality" explains Jon to Luke. And according to Slavoj Zizek he is absolutely right. In "The Seven Veils of Fantasy" Zizek explains that fantasy gives structure to reality. Fantasy is what allows people to confide in the symbolic order, fantasy is also more powerful than people might expect. Fantasy is the imaginary support upon which we build everything: we don't see human bodies we only see bodies through a certain fantasy; in fact, certain neurosis consist in seeing the body as it is (a disgusting cumulus of fluids, excrement, viscera and blood), and as a result there is a complete rejection of the other, or the constantly paranoid fear that contact with others will bring forth contamination or filthiness. Fantasy also structures desire ("what am I in the eyes of the other?"). Is Luke this rude, gay-macho version of Clint Eastwood or is this irresponsible, childish guy that makes Jon laugh with his nonsense? Is Jon this well-behaved gay, a productive member of society, or is he an absolute desperate person (willing to embark upon a nearly suicidal road trip with his newly found lover) that seeks out an indefinable truth that will give meaning to his remaining days? Fantasy also allows people to understand abstract concepts. What is a nation, for example? Benedict Anderson defines nations as "imagined communities", id est, arbitrary creations upon which people agree on.Nevertheless, the most important conception of fantasy here is that which veils and hides the real. Fantasy secludes oneself from the awful truth. Fantasy nurtures mythological and theological narratives that deal with something that has frightened people since the dawn of time: death. Sometimes, fantasies that veil the horror of death are as clumsy as the nice and tidy instructions and warnings one receives in every flight concerning the possibility of an "accident" (one has but to wonder what use a fastened security belt has when most airplane crushes end up turning people into a pulp, scattered tissue, that prevents even dental records to be obtained from the wreckage), but also as influencing and historically relevant as the heaven versus hell narrative that church still proclaims to this day.What is "The Living End"? It is a glance of what happens once we withdraw from fantasy. Araki's film shows us what happens when death is no longer an abstract concern but a certainty. It demonstrates that a once life-driven Jon can lose all hope thanks to a medical diagnosis and thus embrace a death drive; it demonstrates that for all his bravado, Luke might not be the overtly self-destructive, death-seeking guy we saw in the first scenes. Life drive turns into death drive and vice versa (the extraordinary last scene condenses a powerful eroticism in contrast with an incontestable death wish). But one thing is clear: The veil has been removed and death no longer hides from mortal eyes. It's there, looking Jon and Luke right in the face. And they are looking back with a very fearless and subversive expression. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104745/reviews______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Carlos BardalesEl miércoles en la noche se inauguró la muestra “La morada del Rayo y el Amaru” de Carlos Bardales en la Galería Enlace. Hacía meses que no me asomaba a esta galería ubicada en Pardo y Aliaga; el año pasado creo que iba una vez al mes y este año simplemente dejé de ir. Fue un descuido de mi parte, sin duda, porque había olvidado lo animadas que podían ser las noches sanisidrinas (¿quién dijo que las barranquinas eran las únicas buenas?). Con influencias de la escuela cusqueña y el arte colonial, pero sobre todo con una interesante asimilación de corrientes contemporáneas, el arte de Bardales fluye ante nuestros ojos con un atractivo único y sugerente. Al trabajar con pan de oro o láminas de plata, estos cuadros de gran formato son como inmensas joyas que transmiten un mensaje estético a medio camino entre el clasicismo y el postmodernismo. Ciertamente, quedé encantado con la muestra.En el transcurso de la noche me encontré con varios amigos como Miguel Samamé, José Medina y Carmen Alegre; conversé un rato con Paolo Vigo y me disculpé por no haber ido a su muestra reciente en Sala 58. También hablé brevemente con el gran Roberto Cores, con Julio Garay y con Hugo Salazar (extraordinario artista que expuso en Enlace hace un año; como curiosidad estoy incluyendo una de sus pinturas en este post), me dio mucho gusto verlo (no habíamos coincidido en ninguna muestra desde hacía meses). my drawing / mi dibujoFinalmente, me quedé comentando la nueva temporada de The Walking Dead con mi amigo, el artista Renzo Núñez Melgar Vega, y él me relató los últimos éxitos de la Galería Enlace. Al ser artista de la galería, ‘Reve’ se enteró que hacía poco habían vendido un cuadro de Carlos Cruz Diez a 495,000 dólares. Pensar que un ciudadano limeño (quien por cierto también le había comprado antes un cuadro a mi amigo, aunque por una mínima fracción de la suma mencionada) ha podido gastar esa suma exorbitante en un solo cuadro me dio un poco de dolor de cabeza. El mercado del arte en Lima sin duda está ahora más movido de lo que estaba hace dos décadas, pero aún así, teniendo en cuenta que las obras de Szyszlo, el principal pintor peruano, fluctúan entre 80,000 y 96,000 dólares (y estoy usando como referencia los precios de la misma galería Enlace que tiene un pequeño stock de cuadros de Szyszlo) sigo sin entender cómo alguien como Cruz Diez se ha cotizado tanto (según me enteré, también vendió otros tres o cuatro cuadros ligeramente más caros que los Szyszlo a los que hago referencia). ¿Qué haría la mayoría de la gente con medio millón de dólares? Supongo que comprarse una buena casa, y luego un buen carro, y con lo que les sobre pagar la universidad de sus hijos y punto. En pocas palabras, toda una vida de gastos. Yo, por lo pronto, después de comprarme la casa obviaría el carro y todo lo demás y me dedicaría a adquirir cómics hasta el fin de mis días. ¿Y ustedes?Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/carlos-bardales-la-morada-del-rayo-y-el.html

America’s Got Powers # 3 - Jonathan Ross Bryan Hitch

America’s Got Powers # 3 - Jonathan Ross Bryan Hitch

By Arion in Blog on October 17, 2012

In a generation of superpowered teens, Tommy Watts had always been a zero: a boy no one would pay attention and also someone without any superpower. Things have changed, and now Tommy could be the most powerful teenager on Earth. Quickly seduced by the offers of America’s Got Powers, the world’s most successful reality show, Tommy will fight in the arena against other kids, thus betraying his former ideals.Nonetheless, Tommy ignores the secrets of the Company behind the television show. Not content with billions of dollars of revenue, these businessmen have been secretly experimenting with the teenagers powers. They have hooked them into a machine to suck the especial energy that makes them superhuman. We have already seen corporate greed and now we’re seeing what Slavoj Žižek refers to as a “consumerist paradise” (in his article “The Matrix or the Two Sides of Perversion”). First, we have the actual consumerism which translates into endless merchandising derived from America’s Got Powers; and on the other hand we have the bodies of young men and women trapped inside a machine the sucks the joy out of them. Is this starting to make sense for you?  Company labs / laboratorios de la CompañíaIn “The Matrix” humans are connected to machines to provide the necessary energy for the mega-computers that rule the Earth. Here, we have countless of underage kids being submitted to a machine that absorbs their vital energies, in narrative terms we might be seeing a simple case of prisoners being tortured and / or neutralized, but the truth is that all these elements are fundamental for the Company’s definitive perverse fantasy. Here, the teenagers are not prisoners, not even victims, they are ultimately instruments of the Other's  jouissance. While they are connected to these machines the youngsters get their life-substance sucked out of them because the Company needs to feed on their jouissance. the machineries of perversion / las maquinarias de la perversiónIn the previous chapters we had seen reality as it would appear on a television screen, but there is also a Lacanian real which is embodied by a ragtag group of superpowered teenagers that have neither respect nor love for the world’s most famous reality show. They see in Tommy their last hope. And they risk their lives to rescue the young boy from the arena.Before the battle in the arena, we also get to meet some of Tommy’s comrades. They are all young, they are all powerful, and they are all scared to death. One of the kids can’t stop vomiting; even Tommy, despite his amazing display of power, is nervous. Dressed as superheroes they are now in the arena. Will they turn into the idols of millions or will they meet a quick and brutal death? Once again, the creative team of Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch hit a homerun. Finally, I would like to mention the extraordinary artistic work of Bryan Hitch, who has some truly gorgeous double page spreads (such as the one in which we see the Company labs and the experimentations that take place there); the design of the machines that suck the boys juice (and jouissance) is outstanding; the pages with Tommy getting ready for the fight and the subsequent large panel in the arena are also top notch. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Tommy before the battle / Tommy antes de la batallaEn una generación de adolescentes con súper-poderes, Tommy Watts siempre ha sido un cero: un muchacho al que nadie prestaba atención y también alguien sin ningún poder. Las cosas han cambiado, y ahora Tommy podría ser el adolescente más poderoso de la Tierra. Rápidamente seducido por las ofertas de "Estados Unidos tiene poderes", el reality más exitoso del mundo, Tommy peleará en la arena contra otros chiquillos, traicionando así sus antiguos ideales.No obstante, Tommy ignora los secretos de la Compañía detrás del show de televisión. No contentos con billones de dólares de ganancias, estos hombres de negocio han estado experimentando en secreto con los poderes de los jóvenes. Los han conectado a una máquina para chuparles la energía especial que los hace sobrehumanos. Ya hemos visto la codicia corporativa y ahora estamos viendo lo que Slavoj Žižek denominaría el "paraíso consumista" (en su artículo "The Matrix o los dos aspectos de la perversión"). Primero, tenemos el consumismo en sí mismo que se traduce en inacabables mercancías derivadas de "Estados Unidos tiene poderes"; y, por otro lado, tenemos los cuerpos juveniles atrapados dentro de una máquina que les chupa el goce. ¿Empieza a tener sentido para ustedes?En “The Matrix” los humanos están conectados a las máquinas para proveer la energía necesaria para las mega-computadoras que dominan la Tierra. Aquí, tenemos a jovencitos menores de edad siendo sometidos a una máquina que absorbe sus energías vitales, en términos narrativos esto podría ser un simple caso de prisioneros siendo torturados y/o neutralizados, pero la verdad es que todos estos elementos son fundamentales para la fantasía perversa definitiva de la Compañía. Aquí los adolescentes no son prisioneros, ni siquiera víctimas, ellos son en última instancia los instrumentos del goce del Otro. Mientras están conectados a estas máquinas, la substancia vital de los muchachos es succionada porque la Compañía necesita alimentarse del goce de ellos. Tommy in the arena / Tommy en la arenaEn capítulos previos habíamos visto la realidad tal como aparecería en la pantalla de un televisor, pero también hay un real Lacaniano que es personificado por un heterogéneo grupo de adolescentes súper-poderosos que no tienen ni respeto ni aprecio por el mayor show del mundo. Ellos ven en Tommy a su última esperanza. Y arriesgan sus vidas para rescatar al chico de la arena.Antes de la batalla en la arena, llegamos a conocer a algunos de los camaradas de Tommy. Todos son jóvenes, todos son poderosos, y todos se mueren de miedo. Uno de los chiquillos no puede dejar de vomitar; incluso Tommy, a pesar de haber demostrado su poder, está nervioso. Vestidos como súper-héroes y de pie en la arena, ¿se convertirán en los ídolos de millones o tendrán una muerte brutal y rápida?Nuevamente, el equipo creativo de Jonathan Ross y Bryan Hitch dan en el blanco. Finalmente, me gustaría mencionar la extraordinaria labor artística de Bryan Hitch, que tiene algunas páginas dobles verdaderamente bellas (por ejemplo, esa en la que vemos los laboratorios de la Compañía y los experimentos que realizan); el diseño de las máquinas que les sacan el jugo (y el goce) a los adolescentes es tremendo; las páginas con Tommy alistándose para la pelea y la viñeta grande subsiguiente en la arena son también de primera.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/americas-got-powers-3-jonathan-ross.html

Review: Orbiter

Review: Orbiter

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 15, 2012

Cover Look up at the sky, admire the stars and imagine what is out there.NASA's manned space program is but a memory, Mankind has seen better days. Suddenly the lost spaceship Venture returns home after 10 years in outer space. Of the original crew only captain John Cost returned but something is not right.How did the Venture survive for 10 years in outer space? Here did it travel to? HoA team of specialists is gathered to investigate the returning ship and get answers to how did the ship survive 10 years in space, where did it travel to and what happened to the crew. How good is it?Warren Ellis, the mind behind Orbiter, is a master of sci-fi comic books and this is not an exception.Orbiter is a story of a group of people trying to make sense of a situation that seems to be impossible and unexplainable and has a very personal connection with every single one of them. Ellis makes the story turn around a few earthbound persons that have different issues to resolve with the space exploration program, rather than the ship, the returning captain, aliens or any of the usual suspects. Anna Brakmen the psychiatrist that lives the space exploration experience by exploiting the astronauts that she should be helping. Michele Robeson the technician that never got the closure she needed when the shuttle program was shutdown. Terry Marx the propulsion engender that never had the chance to work on the original program.The journey these people will make is very engaging, and as in any good story, you will be glued to the book until the very last chapter when the mystery is revealed. In the end Ellis was kind enough to write in somethHave you ever watched the TV series Farscape? If so, this is story could very well be what would happen if Crichton ever return to earth speaking an alien language. The art on the Orbiter is competent enough. While it won't make you fall in love with it, its easy on the eye and good enough to communicate emotions to the reader. Colleen Doran does a great job with panel backgrounds, the shadows in the interrogation room, the stars and asteroids in the space imagery and the details of the space-shuttle images are very good. Its something about the faces that makes his art come a little bit short of awesome. Pay attention, this is rocket science. Kennedy Space CenterWould I recommend it?Warren Ellis writing usually generates polar reaction. You either love it or hate it. With that in mind, this is typical Ellis sci-fi book. If that excites you, then this is a must have. If you never read anything by Ellis this a good book to try. However if you're not a fan of his writing, then this is not the book tho change your opinion. I for one like it a lot, its in the bottom of my top 10 Warren Ellis books. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-orbiter.html

Prelude to the Dark Phoenix Saga - Chris Claremont John Byrne

Prelude to the Dark Phoenix Saga - Chris Claremont John Byrne

By Arion in Blog on October 15, 2012

John Byrne & John Romita Jr. (covers / portadas)One of the most brilliant initiatives of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men was to include Emma Frost (The White Queen) as part of the regular X-Men cast, creating a fascinating love triangle between Scott Summers and Jean Grey. In 30 years characters should change and evolve, but it’s always interesting to observe how they were initially conceived. When Claremont and Byrne penned down “God Spare the Child” (Uncanny X-Men # 129, January 1980), they introduced a unique character: Emma Frost, White Queen of the Hellfire Club and one of Earth’s most powerful psychics. Cold, haughty, manipulative and ruthless, Emma was a formidable foe. When the X-Men return from Scotland they find Professor X waiting for them at the mansion, worried about the Phoenix Force, Xavier had decided that it was time for him to go back to Earth. Just like it used to happen on the first X-Men issues, Xavier detects two powerful mutants in his Cerebro machine, and thus he promptly sends two teams to meet these new mutants.Charles Xavier, Colossus, Storm and Wolverine head for the Chicago’s suburbs, while Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler go to New York. It is in Chicago where they first see Emma Frost, disguised as a stuck-up teacher. And it’s also in Chicago where they first meet Kitty Pride, a young 13-year-old girl who immediately feels attracted to the good looks of Colossus (coincidentally, the readers would have to wait almost 30 years to see the physical consummation of that love in Whedon and Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men).John Byrne always had a great sense of humor, and I guess it was his idea to include a most amusing scene that takes place while Storm and Kitty are talking on the Malte Shoppe. As we can see in the last panel of that page, Storm and Kitty are prominently displayed on the foreground, meanwhile, on the background we have Wolverine looking at a pornographic magazine (apparently the Hustler’s centerfold), and Colossus is behind him, absolutely shocked by the pictures of a naked model (let’s keep in mind that Colossus didn’t even know such publications existed, after all, he was raised on an isolated Russian collective farm). Of course, in the next page, nothing changes. Wolverine grabs a Penthouse and keeps looking at porn, eventually, the owner of the place tells him that he’s not running a library, and as Wolverine leaves the Penthouse next to a Playboy the Hellfire Club’s mercenaries make their entrance. Wolverine looking at a porn magazine (last frame) / Wolverine mirando una revista porno (última viñeta)Wolverine, Colossus and Storm defeat the armored men, but the White Queen subdues them with a psychic attack. After undressing them and placing them on cages designed to debilitate them, Emma Frost quickly forgets about Kitty, but it’s precisely this young lady who warns the team in New York about what’s happening. In “Dazzler” (Uncanny X-Men # 130), Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler meet Dazzler (Alison Blaire), a young woman with the ability to convert sound vibrations into light and energy beams. Even with a fraction of the Phoenix power, Jean Grey has no problems in vanquishing her opponents. However, very slowly, Jason Wyngarde has been tapping into Jean Grey’s dark side. He started doing it months ago, and now Jean is almost completely under his control. Wolverine prefers Penthouse over Playboy (frames 2 & 3) / Wolverine prefiere Penthouse en vez de Playboy (viñetas 2 & 3)In “Run For Your Life” (Uncanny X-Men # 131), Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and Dazzler find Kitty Pride. Together, they rescue Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Professor X, while Jean Grey fights against the White Queen. For all her power, Emma Frost is only human, and Jean Grey has access to the Phoenix force, something that makes her even more powerful than the gods. In the end, the result can only be one, the defeat of the White Queen. However, due to Jason Wyngarde’s influence, Jean embraces her own viciousness and sadism, and as she tortures the White Queen, the readers can’t help but to feel sorry for the villainess. Finally, in a surprising act of courage, Emma Frost channels all her “remaining power into [a] telepathic psi-bolt”. Her gambit pays off as she barely manages to escape alive. Byrne’s pages are absolutely beautiful. I could stare at them for hours and never get tired. But we shouldn’t forget the work of the rest of the artistic team. As Claremont explains, “inker Terry Austin matched him [Byrne] stroke by stroke, complementing his work in a way that was perfect for this book. Same goes for Glynis [Wein], and for Tom [Orzechowski], whose skills and talents have strangely never received the recognition they have more than amply earned over the course of his career”. Indeed, John Byrne (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Glynis Wein (color) and Tom Orzechowski (letters) did a magnificent job together. It would be fair to affirm that these stories “set the standard for all that followed and defined the book for the following quarter century”. Looking at Grant Morrison’s New X-Men (2001-2004) or Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men (2004-2008), I’d say the Claremont - Byrne legacy is still very much alive.______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Caged X-Men / los X-Men enjauladosUna de las más brillantes iniciativas de los "New X-Men" de Grant Morrison fue incluir a Emma Frost (White Queen) como parte del elenco regular de los X-Men, creando un fascinante triángulo amoroso entre Scott Summers y Jean Grey. En 30 años los personajes deberían cambiar y evolucionar, pero siempre es interesante observar cómo fueron concebidos inicialmente.Cuando Claremont y Byrne redactaron "Dios salve al niño" (Uncanny X-Men # 129, enero de 1980), presentaron un personaje único: Emma Frost, la Reina Blanca del Club de Fuego Infernal y una de las psíquicas más poderosas de la Tierra. Fría, arrogante, manipuladora y despiadada, Emma era una enemiga formidable. Cuando los X-Men regresan de Escocia encuentran al Profesor X esperándolos en la mansión, preocupado por la Fuerza Fénix, Xavier había decidido que era el momento de regresar a la Tierra. Tal como solía suceder en los primeros números de X-Men, Xavier detecta dos poderosos mutantes en la máquina Cerebro, y rápidamente envía a dos equipos a contactar con estos nuevos mutantes.  DazzlerCharles Xavier, Colossus, Storm y Wolverine se dirigen a los suburbios de Chicago, mientras que Cyclops, Jean Grey y Nightcrawler van a New York. Es en Chicago donde ven por primera vez a Emma Frost, disfrazada como una antipática profesora. Y es también en Chicago donde ven por primera vez a Kitty Pride, una jovencita de 13 años que inmediatamente se siente atraída por la buena apariencia de Colossus (por cierto, los lectores tendrían que esperar casi 30 años para ver la consumación física de este amor en "Astonishing X-Men" de Whedon y Cassaday). John Byrne siempre tuvo un gran sentido del humor, y supongo que fue su idea incluir una divertidísima escena que ocurre mientras Storm y Kitty están conversando en una cafetería. Como podemos ver en la última viñeta de esa página, Storm y Kitty están prominentemente en un primer plano, mientras tanto, en un segundo plano distinguimos a Wolverine ojeando una revista pornográfica (aparentemente las páginas centrales de Hustler) y, detrás de él, Colossus se escandaliza al ver las fotos de una modelo desnuda (tengamos en mente que Colossus ni siquiera sabía que existían este tipo de publicaciones, después de todo, fue criado en una aislada granja rusa). Por supuesto, en la siguiente página, nada cambia. Wolverine agarra una Penthouse y sigue mirando más porno, eventualmente, el propietario del local le dice que no están en una librería, y cuando Wolverine deja la Penthouse al lado de una Playboy, aparecen los mercenarios del Club de Fuego Infernal.Wolverine, Colossus y Storm derrotan a los hombres con armadura, pero White Queen los somete con un ataque psíquico. Luego de desvestirlos y colocarlos en jaulas especialmente diseñadas para debilitarlos, Emma Frost se olvida rápidamente de Kitty, pero es precisamente esta muchachita quien advierte al equipo de New York sobre lo que está pasando. En “Dazzler” (Uncanny X-Men # 130), Cyclops, Jean Grey y Nightcrawler conocen a Alison Blaire (alias Dazzler), una joven con la habilidad de convertir las vibraciones sonoras en luz y rayos de energía. Incluso con una fracción del poder de Fénix, Jean Grey vence a sus oponentes sin problemas. Sin embargo, muy lentamente, Jason Wyngarde ha estado fortaleciendo el lado oscuro de Jean. Empezó a hacerlo hace meses, y ahora ella está casi completamente bajo su control. Phoenix (Jean Grey) versus White Queen (Emma Frost)En "Corre por tu vida" (Uncanny X-Men # 131), Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler y Dazzler encuentran a Kitty Pride. Juntos rescatan a Wolverine, Storm, Colossus y al Profesor X, mientras que Jean Grey pelea contra White Queen. A pesar de todo su poder, Emma Frost es solamente humana, y Jean Grey tiene acceso a la fuerza Fénix, algo que la hace incluso más poderosa que los dioses. Al final, el resultado sólo puede ser uno, la derrota de White Queen. Sin embargo, a causa de la influencia de Jason Wyngarde, Jean se aferra a su lado vicioso y sádico, y al torturar a White Queen los lectores no pueden evitar compadecer a la villana. Finalmente, en un sorprendente acto de coraje, Emma Frost canaliza todo su "poder psíquico restante en un rayo telepático". Su estratagema rinde frutos y logra escapar con vida a duras penas.Las páginas de Byrne son absolutamente hermosas. Podría contemplarlas por horas sin cansarme. Pero no deberíamos olvidar el trabajo del resto del equipo artístico. Como explica Claremont, el "entintador Terry Austin se mantuvo a la par con Byrne pincelada a pincelada, complementando su trabajo de una manera que era perfecta para este título. Lo mismo va para Glynis Wein y Tom Orzechowski, cuyas habilidades y talentos extrañamente nunca han recibido el reconocimiento que han ganado ampliamente durante el curso de sus carreras". De hecho, John Byrne (lápices), Terry Austin (tintas), Glynis Wein (color) y Tom Orzechowski (rotulado) hicieron juntos un magnífico trabajo. Sería justo afirmar que estas historias "elevaron el standard de todo lo que vino después y definieron la colección para el próximo cuarto de siglo". Al mirar el "New X-Men" de Grant Morrison (2001-2004) o el "Astonishing X-Men" de Joss Whedon y John Cassaday (2004-2008), diría que el legado Claremont - Byrne continúa vivo.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/prelude-to-dark-phoenix-saga-chris.html

The X-Men vs. Proteus - Chris Claremont John Byrne

The X-Men vs. Proteus - Chris Claremont John Byrne

By Arion in Blog on October 13, 2012

Dave Cockrum / John Byrne (covers/portadas)After a terrible battle with Magneto, the X-Men were presumed dead by Jean Grey and Hank McCoy (Beast); when they share this devastating information with Professor X, Charles Xavier decides to abandon Earth, accompanying Lilandra Neramani, Shi’ar Empress, to her homeworld. Grief-stricken, Jean Grey decides to travel around the globe (and is constantly stalked by the mysterious Jason Wyngarde) while the Beast returns to the Avengers.   Nevertheless, all of the X-Men had survived, and as they step foot on Xavier’s mansion they realize the venerable building is completely empty. They think Beast and Jean have died during the conflict with Magneto, until they actually find out that’s not true. Quickly, they take the Blackbird to Scotland, although none of them suspects that “There’s Something Awful on Muir Island!” (Uncanny X-Men # 125, September 1979).In order to understand the limitations of the Phoenix force, Jean Grey has asked geneticist expert Moira McTaggert for help. Moira has one of the best genetic laboratories in the world, and it’s on this facility located on Muir Island that something weird takes place. Proteus, one of the world’s most powerful and dangerous mutants, is at large. In “How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth” (Uncanny X-Men # 126), the X-Men are finally reunited with Jean Grey, and they experiment happiness but also preoccupation, as they must find and defeat Proteus. Jean Grey, Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Storm join forces with Moira McTaggert, Banshee, Polaris, Havoc and Multiple Man. But even this extraordinary assemblage of superheroes may not be enough to stop Proteus.Even with all the action scenes, Claremont and Byrne still find the time to reveal the secret past of Moira McTaggert in “The Quality of Hatred!” (Uncanny X-Men # 127). Long before meeting Charles Xavier, Moira had a relationship with a Scottish officer, an alcoholic that had a tendency for violence. When the two of them were in New York, he savagely beats up Moira McTaggert and then rapes her. She is hospitalized and although her wounds heal, there is a much more serious repercussion: she’s pregnant. She raises her child on Muir Island, until at a tender age the boy starts manifesting an unprecedented level of power matched only by his depravity. Moira had found the way to keep him imprisoned for years but now that he’s free, he kills people without any remorse.     There is an especially intense moment that I’d like to mention. Moira knows that her son will seek out his father to kill him in the most horrendous way imaginable. Moira also hates the man who raped her, but still, she risks her life, travels to Edinburgh and warns him about the arrival of Proteus. Arrogant as ever, the man dismisses Moira’s advices, and in an outburst of rage, she takes a gun and is about to shoot him. There is something quite exquisite in this sort of human contradiction, and Claremont and Byrne knew exactly what to do to bring their characters to life. In “The Action of the Tiger” (Uncanny X-Men # 128), the X-Men have no choice but to kill Proteus in order to save Scotland’s largest city.John Byrne (penciler) and Terry Austin (inker) were the ideal artistic team back in the late 70s and early 80s. I often think that together there is nothing they couldn’t accomplish, and reading these comics now, it’s easy to notice the graphic shortcomings of many of today’s comic books. According to Claremont, Byrne’s “stellar artwork just got better and better with every issue. John could do it all: action and characterization, the most mundane of settings and the most fantastic, presenting with equal facility a couple discussing life and their potential relationship over a cup of coffee to the formal coronation of the Queen of an interstellar and decidedly non-human empire […] He established character so indelibly that the ramification of those debuts have resonances today. He can do drama, he can do humor. He did it all”. Moira McTaggert & Jean GreyObviously, I agree with Mr. Claremont 100%. I’ve often said that I turned into a serious comic book collector thanks to John Byrne’s Superman. And to this day, every time I reread these classic stories from the 70s or 80s I feel just as excited as I felt that very first time, when I realized I could never turn my back on the ninth art. These classic comics have inspired me to write and draw my own, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ the many faces of Jason Wyngarde/ los muchos rostros de Jason WyngardeDespués de una terrible batalla con Magneto, Jean Grey y Hank McCoy (Beast) asumen que los X-Men han muerto; cuando comparten esta devastadora información con el Profesor X, Charles Xavier decide abandonar la Tierra, y acompaña a Lilandra Neramani, la emperatriz Shi’ar, a su mundo. Desolada, Jean Grey decide viajar por el mundo (y es acosada con insistencia por el misterioso Jason Wyngarde) mientras Beast regresa a los Avengers.   No obstante, todos los X-Men habían sobrevivido, y apenas ponen un pie en la mansión de Xavier se dan cuenta que el venerable edificio está completamente vacío. Ellos piensan que Beast y Jean murieron durante el conflicto con Magneto, hasta que descubren que esto no es así. Rápidamente, se suben al Blackbird rumbo a Escocia, aunque ninguno de ellos sospecha que "Hay algo horrible en la isla Muir" (Uncanny X-Men # 125, setiembre de 1979). Storm versus ProteusPara entender las limitaciones de la fuerza Fénix, Jean Grey ha buscado la ayuda de la experta en genética Moira McTaggert. El laboratorio genético de Moira es uno de los mejores del mundo, y es en estas instalaciones ubicadas en la isla Muir en las que algo extraño sucede. Proteus, uno de los mutantes más poderosos y peligrosos del mundo, se ha liberado. En "Más filoso que el diente de una serpiente" (Uncanny X-Men # 126), los X-Men finalmente se reúnen con Jean Grey, y experimentan felicidad pero también preocupación al tener que encontrar y derrotar a Proteus. Jean Grey, Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler y Storm unen fuerzas con Moira McTaggert, Banshee, Polaris, Havoc y Multiple Man. Pero incluso este extraordinario ensamblaje de súper-héroes podría no ser suficiente para detener a Proteus. Jean Grey, Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, Banshee, Polaris & Havoc Incluso con todas las escenas de acción, Claremont y Byrne se las arreglan para revelar secretos del pasado de Moira McTaggert en "La calidad del odio" (Uncanny X-Men # 127). Mucho antes de conocer a Charles Xavier, Moira tenía una relación con un oficial escocés, un alcohólico con tendencias violentas. Cuando los dos se encuentran en New York, él golpea salvajemente a Moira McTaggert y la viola. Ella es hospitalizada y aunque sus heridas sanan, hay una repercusión mucho más seria: está embarazada. Cría a su hijo en la isla Muir, hasta que a una tierna edad el chico empieza a manifestar un nivel de poder y de depravación sin precedentes. Moira había encontrado la manera de mantenerlo prisionero por años pero ahora que está libre, mata personas sin ningún remordimiento. Colossus versus ProteusHay un momento muy intenso que me gustaría mencionar. Moira sabe que su hijo buscará a su padre para matarlo de la manera más horrenda que pueda imaginar. Moira también odia al hombre que la violó, pero aun así, arriesga su vida, viaja a Edimburgo y le advierte sobre la llegada de Proteus. Arrogante como siempre, el hombre le hace poco caso a Moira, y en un estallido de ira, ella sujeta una pistola y está a punto de dispararle. Hay algo bastante exquisito en este tipo de contradicción humana, y Claremont y Byrne sabían exactamente qué hacer para darles vida a sus personajes. En "La acción del tigre" (Uncanny X-Men # 128), los X-Men no tienen otra opción más que darle muerte a Proteus para salvar la mayor ciudad de Escocia.John Byrne (lápices) y Terry Austin (tintas) eran el equipo artístico ideal a fines de los 70 y comienzos de los 80. A menudo pienso que juntos no había nada que no pudiesen lograr, y al leer estos cómics ahora es fácil notar los defectos gráficos de muchos de los cómics de hoy. De acuerdo con Claremont, el estelar trabajo de Byrne "continuaba mejorando número a número. John podía hacerlo todo: acción y caracterización, el escenario más mundano y el más fantástico, presentaba con igual facilidad a una pareja discutiendo sobre la vida y su potencial relación mientras tomaban café o la coronación formal de la reina de un imperio interestelar y decididamente no humano [...] Él estableció los personajes tan indeleblemente que las ramificaciones de estos debuts tiene resonancias hoy en día. Puede hacer drama, puede hacer humor. Y lo hizo todo".Obviamente, estoy 100% de acuerdo con Claremont. He afirmado con frecuencia que me convertí en un coleccionista de cómics de verdad gracias al Superman de John Byrne. Y hasta el día de hoy, cada vez que releo estas historias clásicas de los 70s y 80s, me siento tan emocionado como al principio, cuando me di cuenta que no podría darle la espalda al noveno arte. Estos cómics clásicos me han inspirado a escribir y dibujar los míos, y por ello estaré eternamente agradecido.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-x-men-vs-proteus-chris-claremont.html

Bosques de Luz - Eliana Mabire (Dédalo)

Bosques de Luz - Eliana Mabire (Dédalo)

By Arion in Blog on October 12, 2012

my drawing / mi dibujoAs you all know by now, I’ve been writing and drawing my stories for The Gathering, an ongoing comic book anthology. So far, I have collaborated in volumes 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 14. Besides having my work published I have also had the privilege of meeting dozens of talented writers and artists, one of my favorites is Aaron Bir, a very talented artist who did the fantastic covers for the first 4 issues.Right now Aaron is organizing a very promising art exhibit “Syndetic”. He also has a Kickstarter campaign in case you want to help him, so I’m posting a link. I’m also including one of my old drawings, which was originally included in this blog in black and white and now it has been colored. Do you like it? Oh, and I’ve also updated my post for August comics in case you want to check out the covers that were missing a few days ago. Next week I’ll probably review America’s Got Powers # 3, Brilliant # 4 and Supercrooks # 4. So stay tuned my friends... the best is yet to come. ______________________________________________________________________ Carlos Otero HeraudAyer jueves, se inauguraron al menos tres interesantes muestras en Barranco. Aunque me he pasado las últimas dos semanas en mi casa, un tanto desanimado por cuestiones coyunturales (de hecho, no hubiera salido durante estos 15 días si no fuera por el cumpleaños de mi amiga Vicky Medrano, que celebró por duplicado, primero en Huaringas donde tomé un par de riquísimos aguaymanto sour y luego en su casa, en donde preparé casi 30 vasos de maracuyá sour para sus invitados y, por supuesto, para mí también), aproveché la noche del jueves para divertirme un poco. Alex ZapataPrimero fui al Centro Colich, en donde se inauguraban varias muestras, todas muy bien trabajadas, aunque entre ellas destaco la labor de Carlos Otero Heraud, con cuadros llenos de colorido que encajan a la perfección en esta propuesta artística. Luego de comer varios bocaditos gourmet cortesía de Piccolo Pizzeria, y con varios chilcanos, cavas y vinos tintos a cuesta, me quedé conversando con mi amigo José Arturo Lugón, que me contó que ya vendió 7 de los 10 cuadros que expuso en la Alianza Francesa de La Molina hace un par de semanas. También conversé brevemente con Lucía Ginocchio y Hugo Alegre. Tal como ha sucedido desde el 2010, me quedé hablando con Marcos Palacios y Paola Tejada, juntos fuimos a la Galería Cecilia González, a pocas cuadras del Centro Colich, donde se inauguraba la muestra de Alex Zapata, con cuadros abstractos pero muy bien trabajados, en los que prima el dominio del volumen y el uso experto de colores aparentemente apagados, todos los cuadros tienen marcos de hierro que brindan una cierta cohesión a la obra. Allí tomé un par de vasos de whisky, y finalmente, luego de ponernos de acuerdo, Marcos, Paola y yo partimos rumbo a Dédalo. En Dédalo se inauguraba la muestra Bosques de Luz de la artista Eliana Mabire. Eliana ha esculpido una serie de objetos preciosos, entre ellos columnas de casi cuatro metros que se asemejan a las velas encendidas de un pastel de cumpleaños y también un exquisito sofá de luz, en el que tanto Paola como yo nos sentamos. Además de ser sumamente cómodo,  se trata de una obra de arte escultórica sin precedentes en nuestro medio. Felicité personalmente a Eliana, y también saludé a Eduardo Lores y a María Elena Fernández, quien tuvo la delicadeza de invitarnos pisco pese a que el evento ya había terminado y nosotros éramos los únicos presentes. Conversé con Eduardo y María Elena, y también con Pedro Casusol. Después de dos semanas de ausencia en el circuito de galerías limeñas, realmente echaba de menos este tipo de actividades.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/bosques-de-luz-eliana-mabire-dedalo.html

Marvel Masterworks Uncanny X-Men Vol. 4 - Claremont, Byrne Pérez

Marvel Masterworks Uncanny X-Men Vol. 4 - Claremont, Byrne Pérez

By Arion in Blog on October 10, 2012

Dave Cockrum & Frank Miller (covers/portadas)Chris Claremont always had a very special talent as a writer: he could balance high octane action with character development and even references to real world problems. Thirty years ago, in New Mutants, he talked about deforestation in the Brazilian rainforest and the importance of having a more ecological approach. And in “Cry for the Children” (published in Uncanny X-Men # 122, June 1979), Claremont and Byrne place the most powerful member of the X-Men in a most unusual setting.I am talking about Storm (Ororo Munroe), who out of curiosity decides to visit her parents’ former house. As she walks through the dangerous streets of Harlem she realizes that either her memories betray her or the “sweet” home no longer exists. Indeed, what the Mistress of the Elements sees is something that goes beyond filth and poverty, what she sees is depravation and human misery on a scale she could hardly conceive. In order to portray all of this visually, Chris Claremont needed a talented artist like John Byrne who could “focus on a single character or a group, showing not only Ororo’s reaction to the ruined, devastated space her childhood home had become but the wasted lives that inhabit it now”.When Storm opens the door of what was once her parents’ apartment, she stumbles upon a group of young people injecting themselves with heroin. Ororo’s impeccable attire is contrasted against her surroundings: broken condoms in the floor, and a plethora of graffiti covering the building’s walls (curiously, John Byrne includes the names of dozens of Marvel creators as part of the graffiti, from Jim Shooter to Bob Wiacek, from Roger Stern to Jo Duffy and so on). This is an amazing page with hundreds of little details, but the large panel in which we see the boys and girls in a complete state of abandonment is priceless. “Children everywhere -- all young, all painfully thin, all filthy as the room itself. Some look up as Ororo enters, most don’t care -- too far gone into their private, heroine-created fantasylands, or desperately intent on getting there themselves”.But this is not only a room; this is a reflection of the entire neighborhood: drugs, robberies and murders are quite frequent in Harlem. After facing Magneto, after fighting against the Shadow King, after struggling with the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, the Mistress of the Elements suddenly finds herself at loss. With the ability to control weather patterns worldwide she has enough power to defeat an entire army, but what can she do against a group of kids addicted to heroin? A couple of black urban heroes, Misty Knight and Luke Cage (Power Man), appear in the proverbial nick of time to help Ororo. Storm is horrified by the age of the children that tried to attack her to get money and buy more drugs; Luke Cage doesn’t try to console her but he shares some of his insights about “a society more concerned about caging 13-year-olds for life than trying to give them a decent chance […] we can save humanity from Doc Doom or Galactus -- but not from itself”. Finally, painfully, Storm accepts that some things can never be fixed by superheroes.  Immediately after this harsh encounter with reality, the X-Men are captured by Arcade and are forced to fight for their lives in Murderworld. In “Listen -- Stop Me If You’ve Heard It -- But This One Will Kill You” (Uncanny X-Men # 123, July 1979), the villainous Arcade manages to brainwash Colossus and turns him into the Proletarian, a blatant reference to communism and the Soviet Union. The fight against Arcade concludes in “He Only Laughs When I Hurt” (Uncanny X-Men # 124, August 1979).  Storm visiting her old home / Storm visitando su antiguo hogarFinally, we have “A Fire in the Sky” (The X-Men Annual # 3), written by Chris Claremont and penciled by the great George Pérez. Pérez is now famous for drawing the entire DC Universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths and for his long run on Wonder Woman. In 1979, he was a very promising artist but not as famous as he is today. As Chris Claremont explains, John Byrne was too busy to draw the annual (which was a double-sized issue) so they needed a penciler of John’s caliber, and George was the right choice, he could “handle team choreography, action galore, physical and emotional characterization, spectacular visuals, special effects…” And indeed, George Pérez’s pages turned out to be magnificent.In this annual, once again Storm plays the most important role, as she is persuaded by Arkon, the Imperion, to save an alien planet that is on the verge of extinction due to atmospheric conditions. Originally, Arkon had tried to find Thor, the god of thunder, but in the end he finds that the Mistress of the Elements can be every bit as effective as the Norse god. To be continued...______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The perils of heroine / los peligros de la heroínaChris Claremont siempre tuvo un talento muy especial como escritor: podía balancear acción a raudales con el desarrollo de personajes e incluso hacer referencias a problemas del mundo real. Hace treinta años, en New Mutants, habló sobre la deforestación de los bosques de Brasil y la importancia de la ecología. Y en “Llanto por los niños” (publicado en Uncanny X-Men # 122, junio de 1979), Claremont y Byrne colocan al más poderoso miembro de los X-Men en un escenario sumamente inusual.Hablo de Storm (Ororo Munroe), que llevada por la curiosidad visita la antigua casa de sus padres. Mientras camina en las peligrosas calles de Harlem, se da cuenta que o bien sus recuerdos la traicionan o bien el "dulce" hogar ya no existe. De hecho, lo que la Señora de los Elementos ve es algo que supera la inmundicia y la pobreza, lo que ve es la depravación y la miseria humana en una escala que apenas puede concebir. Para expresar todo esto visualmente, Chris Claremont necesitaba un artista talentoso como John Byrne que pudiese "enfocarse en un sólo personaje o grupo, mostrando no solamente la reacción de Ororo ante el espacio arruinado y devastado en el que se había convertido el hogar de su infancia, sino también las vidas desperdiciadas de quienes lo habitan ahora". The Proletarian / el ProletarioCuando Storm abre la puerta de lo que alguna vez fue el departamento de sus padres, se tropieza con un grupo de jovencitos que se están inyectando heroína. El impecable atuendo de Ororo contrasta con el lugar: condones rotos en el piso, y una plétora de grafitis que cubre todas las paredes (curiosamente, John Byrne incluye el nombre de docenas de creadores de Marvel, como Jim Shooter, Bob Wiacek, Roger Stern, Jo Duffy, etc.). Esta es una asombrosa página con cientos de pequeños detalles, pero la viñeta grande en la que vemos a los chicos y chicas en un completo estado de abandono no tiene precio. "Niños por doquier -- todos jóvenes, todos dolorosamente delgados, todos inmundos como la misma habitación. Algunos alzan la vista cuando Ororo entra, a la mayoría no le importa -- demasiado idos en sus tierras de fantasía creadas por la heroína, o intentando desesperadamente perderse en ellas". the villainous Arcade / el villanesco ArcadePero esto no es sólo un cuarto; esto es el reflejo de un barrio entero: drogas, robos y asesinatos son frecuentes en Harlem. Luego de enfrentar a Magneto, luego de pelear contra el Rey Sombra, luego de luchar con la guardia imperial Shi'ar, la Señora de los Elementos repentinamente está perdida. Con la habilidad de controlar los patrones del clima en todo el mundo tiene suficiente poder para vencer a un ejército, pero ¿qué puede hacer contra un grupo de chiquillos adictos a la heroína?Un par de héroes urbanos negros,  Misty Knight y Luke Cage (Power Man), aparecen en el momento justo para ayudar a Ororo. Storm se horroriza por la edad de los niños que intentaron atacarla para conseguir dinero y comprar más drogas; Luke Cage no intenta consolarla pero comparte algunas de sus reflexiones sobre "una sociedad más preocupada con enjaular a niños de 13 años de por vida que intentar darles una oportunidad decente [...] Podemos salvar a la humanidad del Doctor Doom o Galactus -- pero no de sí misma". Finalmente, dolorosamente, Storm acepta que algunas cosas no pueden ser arregladas por los súper-héroes. George PérezInmediatamente después de este duro encuentro con la realidad, los X-Men son capturados por Arcade y son forzados a pelear por sus vidas en Murderworld. En "Escucha -- deténme si lo has escuchado -- pero esta te matará" (Uncanny X-Men # 123, julio de 1979), el villanesco Arcade se las arregla para lavarle el cerebro a Colossus y convertirlo en el Proletario, una burda referencia al comunismo y la Unión Soviética. La pelea contra Arcade concluye en "Sólo se ríe cuando me duele" (Uncanny X-Men # 124, agosto de 1979). Finalmente, tenemos "Un fuego en el cielo" (The X-Men Annual # 3), escrito por Chris Claremont y dibujado por George Pérez. Pérez es famoso ahora por dibujar al universo DC entero en "Crisis en Tierras Infinitas" y por su larga etapa en Wonder Woman. En 1979, era un artista muy prometedor pero no tan famoso como hoy. Tal como explica Chris Claremont, John Byrne estaba muy ocupado para dibujar el anual (que encima tenía doble cantidad de páginas), así que necesitaban a un artista del calibre de John, y George fue la elección correcta, él podía "manejar la coreografía del equipo, la acción trepidante, la caracterización física y emocional, los espectaculares efectos especiales y visuales..." Y de hecho, las páginas de George Pérez fueron magníficas. X-Men versus ArkonEn este anual, nuevamente Storm desempeña un rol clave, al ser persuadida por Arkon, el Imperion, para salvar un planeta alienígena al borde de la extinción a causa de las condiciones atmosféricas. Originalmente, Arkon había intentado encontrar a Thor, el dios del trueno, pero al final descubre que la Señora de los Elementos puede ser tan efectiva como el dios nórdico.Continuará...Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/marvel-masterworks-uncanny-x-men-vol-4.html

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men Volume 1

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men Volume 1

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 8, 2012

Cover Its the first day of school at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. To add to natural fuss and chaos of the first day of school, the New York State Department of Education inspectors are knocking at Wolverine's door.Everything that can go wrong does go wrong.Lava on the walls, the ground tries to swallow the school, Bamfs running around causing misfit and mutant teenagers.Seems like Logan, Marvel tougher badass, is finally faced with a tasked that is more than he can handle.How good is it?Its been a few years since I've followed Marvel's books regularly. As a consequence I don't fully grasp all the continuity "whys" and "how's" that made the Universe come to be in the beginning of this story. What made Wolverine, Beast, Iceman and Kitty Pryde take over Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters (now called Jean Grey School for Higher Learning)? I didn't know.I also didn't know who Broo, Armor, Kid Omega, Dust or some of the other students are. Fortunately that wasn't a problem because Jason Aron does a great job of getting you up to speed on any relevant facts you need to know. One of my fears when coming into this book was the fact that Wolverine had such a prominent position. I like the character but it seem that he's been on almost every corner of the Marvel Universe, and that almost never bodes well. Also I never pictured Logan as a Headmaster of a school. That seemed very out of character. But Jason Aron plays around with all those elements and brings it all together in a masterfully way. He really does a great job of mixing all this different characters and new situations together and the result is a funny, lightweight and fresh take on the original concept of the X-men. This is one status quo change that worked perfectly. Chris Bachalo's approach may look a bit odd at first sight, but after 2 or 3 pages the art starts to look just about perfect. The panel dynamic is really good and fluid and the look he adopted for the book marries the mood set by Jason Aron's writing just right.Never a first day of school (in Marvel Universe at least) was this funny and easy to read. This is not a book about the darker side of the Marvel Universe. Traditional X-men topics like discrimination and segregation of the mutantkind are not addressed in this book. And that is a good thing, because it elevates this book out of the sea of gloomy X-titles out there and creates a unique book with a unique feel.  On a side note, the relationship between Quentin Quire (Kid Omega) and Wolverine is very promising. The Headmaster telling it how it is Would I recommend it?While I don't think this is a book to draw in new readers to comic books, it is a very good superhero book. And if you're into the superhero genre then this one is going to make a great addition to your shelf.Also, being a 1st volume, its a great jump in point, even if you (like myself) haven't been following the Marvel Universe in the last years. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-wolverine-and-x-men-volume-1.html

Fashion Beast # 1 - Alan Moore, Malcolm McLaren Facundo Percio

Fashion Beast # 1 - Alan Moore, Malcolm McLaren Facundo Percio

By Arion in Blog on October 7, 2012

wraparound cover / portada dobleFashion is such a part of our everyday life that we often forget its implications. Beyond colors, cloths or brands, fashion seems to stand for something else, something of the performative order, something that helps define or redefine the individual… Slogans such as “clothes with attitude” or “express yourself with your attire” have long been inscribed into the world of fashion.  the crumbling building / el edificio ruinosoBut aren’t these notions deeply entrenched in our own personal world? And ultimately what are the repercussions? Surely, Alan Moore and Malcolm McLaren (Sex Pistols) set out on this creative voyage decades ago to answer these questions or, at least, to provoke a certain reaction in the reader. Originally intended as a film, this original script staid in limbo since 1985, and only now it has been adapted to the ninth art by Anthony Johnston and illustrated by Facundo Percio. Our story begins in a dystopian reality, in a rather peculiar city overruled by Celestine, a most influential fashion house.Now one of my teachers (who was a close friend of Heidegger, a very prestigious philosopher) used to say that, in his opinion, fashion was a perpetual state of indecision. And the fashion industry certainly thrives on indecision, on our feelings of uncertainty (“should I wear this or that?”), of inadequacy (“does this make me look better?”). This is the well-known phenomena of “I’ve got nothing to wear” when, in fact, the closet is about the burst due to the amount of clothes stored in it. It is the same irrational indecision that forces us to throw our clothes in the garbage because suddenly, magically, they aren’t cool anymore and we need to buy something new. And the vicious circle will never stop, and we’ll always keep on buying something new, not because we need it but because it’s new.In the first chapter of “Fashion Beast”, we get to know the protagonists. Some of them live together in the same crumbling building. In a sequence of several pages that combines onomatopoeias, sounds and voices, there’s a rhythmic feeling, a cadence, which no doubt would have been accompanied by a Sex Pistols song had this been turned into a movie in the 80s. Inside this building we see a couple of young gentlemen that have no problems in dressing or undressing in front of each other, a black man of rather peculiar tastes, a boy who wishes to be a girl, and a girl who wishes to be a boy. All of them are, purportedly, “indulgers in promiscuity and sexual perversion”.  some of the protagonists / algunos de los protagonistasNevertheless, are they truly perverts? When the girl dresses up as a boy and the boy dresses up as a girl, they’re both subverting the cultural hegemony of the heterosexual norm. This is performativity at its best. In Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, acts are “the mundane way in which social agents constitute social reality”. Id est, as a man I wear man’s clothes on a daily basis. But what happens when we talk about transvestites? For Judith Butler a drag queen synthetizes “the mundane way in which genders are appropriated, theatricalized, worn, and done; it implies that gendering is a kind of impersonation and approximation”. In different times, in different civilizations, what is demanded and expected from men and women greatly varies. There is no such thing as being a man or a woman, but there is such a thing as learning how to behave like a man or a woman in any given context. For Butler “gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original”. Indeed, rules about gender are not set in stone, and yet, as a society, we are obsessed with the heterosexual normativity. As a transgender individual, Doll denies his masculine condition and when he dresses up as woman and puts on some make-up he is subverting the symbolic order. But he’s not the only transgressor: Tomboy, a girl who wears boy’s clothes and displays a macho-like brashness confronts Doll. Elegantly dressed, Doll spends the night in a mysterious club that receives only 100 visitors each night. Every visitor is dressed up in a unique and unusual way, and in a city devoted to fashion it couldn’t be otherwise. What secrets are hidden in this club? We’ll find out in the second issue.I wasn’t really familiar with the work of Facundo Percio, but I really liked the way he focused on the old building and how he arranged the panels there. The design of the machines on the next page is very fetching. As everyone gets ready to go to the club, the artist manages to create a sense of simultaneity; aided, no doubt, by the flawless visual transitions suggested in the original script.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________La moda está tan presente en nuestra vida cotidiana que a menudo olvidamos sus implicancias. Más allá de colores, texturas o marcas, la moda parece significar algo más, algo del orden performativo, algo que ayuda a definir o redefinir al individuo... slogans como "ropa con actitud" o "exprésate con tu atuendo" forman parte del mundo de la moda desde hace tiempo.Pero, ¿estas nociones no están profundamente enraizadas en nuestro mundo personal? Y, en última instancia, ¿cuáles son las repercusiones? Seguramente, Alan Moore y Malcolm McLaren (Sex Pistols) se embarcaron en este viaje creativo hace décadas para responder estas preguntas o, al menos, para provocar una cierta reacción en el lector. Originalmente concebida como una película, este guión original se quedó en el limbo desde 1985, y sólo ahora ha sido adaptado al noveno arte por Anthony Johnston e ilustrado por Facundo Percio. Nuestra historia comienza en una realidad distópica, en una ciudad bastante peculiar dominada por Celestine, una influyente casa de moda. dressing and undressing / vistiéndose y desvistiéndoseUno de mis profesores (que fue amigo cercano de Heidegger, el prestigioso filósofo) solía decir que, en su opinión, la moda era un estado perpetuo de indecisión. Y la industria de la moda ciertamente tiene éxito gracias a esa indecisión, gracias a nuestra incertidumbre ("¿debería ponerme esto o aquello?") y nuestra inseguridad ("¿Con esto me veré mejor?"). Se trata del bien conocido fenómeno de "no tengo ropa que ponerme" cuando, de hecho, el closet está a punto de reventar por la cantidad de prendas allí almacenadas. Es la misma indecisión irracional que nos obliga a botar nuestra ropa a la basura porque repentinamente, mágicamente, ya no es "cool" y necesitamos comprar algo nuevo. Y el círculo vicioso nunca se detiene, y siempre seguimos comprando algo nuevo, no porque lo necesitemos sino porque es nuevo.En el primer capítulo de “Fashion Beast”, conocemos a los protagonistas. Algunos viven juntos en el mismo edificio ruinoso. En una secuencia de varias páginas que combina onomatopeyas, sonidos y voces, se siente un ritmo, una cadencia, que sin duda habría sido acompañada por una canción de los Sex Pistols si esto hubiese sido una película en los 80. Dentro del edificio vemos una pareja de jóvenes caballeros que no tienen problemas en vestirse o desnudarse frente al otro, un hombre negro de gustos bastante peculiares, un chico que desea ser una chica, y una chica que desea ser un chico. Todos ellos, presuntamente, han cedido a la "promiscuidad y la perversión sexual". indulgers in promiscuity and sexual perversion / los que ceden a la promiscuidad y la perversión sexualNo obstante, ¿son realmente pervertidos? Cuando la chica se viste como un chico y el chico se viste como una chica, ambos están subvirtiendo la hegemonía cultural de la norma heterosexual. Y vaya que eso sí que es performativo. En la fenomenología de Edmund Husserl, los actos son "la manera mundana en la que los agentes sociales constituyen la realidad social". Por ejemplo, al ser hombre me visto a diario con ropa de hombre. Pero, ¿qué sucede con los travestis? Para Judith Butler un "drag queen" sintetiza "la manera mundana en la que los géneros son apropiados, teatralizados, vestidos y realizados; implica que el género es un tipo de personificación y aproximación". En épocas diferentes, en civilizaciones diferentes, lo que era demandado y esperado de los hombres y mujeres variaba en gran medida. No existe tal cosa como ser hombre o ser mujer, pero lo que sí existe es cómo aprender a comportarnos como hombres o mujeres en un contexto dado. Para Butler, "el género es un tipo de imitación sin un original". De hecho, las reglas sobre género no están escritas en piedra, y aun así, como sociedad, estamos obsesionados con la normatividad heterosexual.Doll es un sujeto transgénero que niega su condición masculina y cuando se viste como mujer y usa maquillaje está subvirtiendo el orden simbólico. Pero él nos es el único transgresor: Tomboy, una chica que se viste como jovencito y actúa con una cierta arrogancia de macho, confronta a Doll. Elegantemente vestida, Doll pasa la noche en un misterioso club que recibe sólo 100 visitantes por noche. Cada visitante está vestido de un modo único e inusual, y en una ciudad dedicada a la moda es lógico que así sea. ¿Qué secretos se ocultan en este club? Lo averiguaremos en el segundo número.No estaba familiarizado con el trabajo de Facundo Percio, pero realmente me gustó el modo en el que se enfoca en el viejo edificio y cómo arregla las viñetas. El diseño de las máquinas en la siguiente página es arrebatador. Mientras todos se alistan para ir al club, el artista logra crear un sentido de simultaneidad; ayudado, sin duda, por las impecables transiciones visuales del guión original.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/fashion-beast-1-alan-moore-malcolm.html

Review: I Kill Giants

Review: I Kill Giants

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 6, 2012

CoverI Kill Giants tells us the story of giants, magic hammers and Barbara Thorson the killer of giants.Barbara is a fifth grader that, unlike normal fifth graders, knows exactly what her place in the world is, exactly how the world is and what she must do when the evil giants arrive.This is a coming-of-age story that takes a interesting little girl with a overactive imagination, obsessed with killing giants and helps her come to terms with some of the harsher facts of life.With the help of her magic hammer Covaleski Barbara doesn't fear anything and will face any giant that crosses her path. However, some obstacles in life are harder to overcome than killing giants.How good is it?I Kill Giants its a wonderful coming-of-age story that will keep you glued until the very last page.Joe Kelly manages to write a powerful and compelling story that stars a little girl and deals with loss and acceptance in such a way that is almost flawless.From Barbara's problems at school, mainly caused be her antisocial behaviour (a fact she is proud of), to her somewhat difficult and distant family relationship, the story builds a fabulous, very well paced and interesting story. Characters wise, its not groundbreaking, there's not that many memorable characters, apart from Barbara herself. But she single-handedly manages to keep the story going and the reader always wanting more and more until the very last panel.  Joe Kelly kept a very tight control on the overhaul plot, keeping it interesting and mysterious until the lifting of the veil in the very end of the book. And what a reveal it is. The ending is where many stories fall short of excellence, but not I Kill Giant. Kelly presents us with a powerful and emotionally charged ending that brings closure for both Barbara and the reader.Art wise the book is filled with great black & white pencils. Ken Niimura art dips heavily in the Manga pond for a strong inspiration and creates a unique feel that fits the book like a glove.I Kill Giants is one of those books that appears from time to time, where the art and the writing create a near perfect partnership and it elevates the book a higher degree of excellence. Barbara being Barbara Behold the mighty CovaleskiWould I recommend it?I'm very biased when it comes to this book, mainly because I love it. With that out of the way, yes I would recommend it. I would recommend it very highly to everyone, be that one a reader of comics or not.Maybe the younger reader won't be able to understand some of the character's motivations or even distinguish between whats supposed to be real and what's just Barbara's overacting imagination. But teenagers and adults will enjoy this book very much. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/cover-i-kill-giants-tells-us-story-of.html

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