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October films / Películas de octubre

October films / Películas de octubre

By Arion in Blog on November 2, 2012

October means Halloween, and Halloween means horror movies! But first, let’s start with Dredd 3D (2012), directed by Pete Travis and starred by Karl Urban. I’ve been a fan of Judge Dredd (created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra) since I was a child and I must say this was a very good adaptation of the character, everything that was great about the comic book finds its way onto the big screen. The post-apocalyptic future, the violence, the corruption of a city crowded with millions of unemployed citizens and a very solid script turn Dredd into a must see.I wish I could say the same about a couple of green movies, and by green I mean “not quite done yet”. Green Lantern (2011), has a few good scenes, although the ‘all ages’ approach doesn’t let it fly. And there are some serious misunderstandings about the functioning of the ring of power (in one scene Hal Jordan creates fire using the ring, which has never been possible in the comic book). Green Hornet (2011) has enough plot holes to play golf in them. One big mistake after another, one bad decision after another. It’s very disappointing and not even the pointless humor of some of the scenes saves this disaster. Now on the horror front I saw Scott Derrickson’s Sinister (2012). When Ethan Hawke, a writer, starts investigating the disappearance of a child, he finds some very disturbing videos that show how entire families are murdered in their homes. There are some really strong scenes, and some intense suspense which is everything I ask from a horror movie. Almost three hours long, It (1990) adapts what is considered one of Stephen King’s best novels. This is a tale about childhood, about innocence, and a vile creature that threatens to destroy the lives of a group of friends. Tim Curry plays an evil clown that specializes on killing children in a small town. The cast includes some really good actors such as Annette O'Toole, John Ritter, Seth Green and Jonathan Brandis. I always enjoy seeing large groups of young people being chased by some maniac, which is exactly what happens in My Bloody Valentine (1981). On St. Valentine’s Day, dead bodies start appearing everywhere on a small town. A group of young men and women are in the mines celebrating, and soon they turn into victims. Not precisely profound but very, very entertaining. Razorback (1984) on the other hand, is an Australian movie about a wild boar that kills and eats people. The protagonist, however, will have to fight against the animal and also against some very depraved individuals. The film is very surreal at points, and very experimental in cinematographic terms. I really liked it.Shot as a ‘real’ documentary, Apollo 18 (2011) is supposed to be the secret landing on the moon. Three astronauts are sent to retrieve rock samples, but they discover a dead Russian astronaut. Who killed him? Or, better yet, what killed him? Filmmaker Gonzalo López-Gallego takes advantage of the lunar surface and the isolation of the astronauts to generate a unique and at times suffocating atmosphere; and the scary moments are well planned and well executed. Sarah Michelle Gellar is a girl haunted by incomprehensible visions and nightmares in The Return (2006), a movie about the wounds of the past and the necessity to punish the guilty. I found it compelling enough, although somewhat weak on the horror department. It’s Alive (2008) describes the life of a young couple and their newly born son. What they can’t imagine is that this baby is actually a monstrous creature that kills and devours people. What I liked: it has some violent sequences. What I didn’t like: it is unnecessarily moralistic especially for the horror genre.  Forbidden love and “Romeo and Juliet” are pretty much synonyms, but in Private Romeo (2011) what we have is another kind of forbidden love, the one that doesn’t dare speak its name. A young cadet falls in love with one of his classmates. The premise was very promising but the final result was a disappointment. The Devil’s Playground (1976) directed by Fred Schepisi tackles on the very delicate subject of adolescence and sexual awakening. With tact and intelligence, Schepisi recreates the lives of a group of boys growing up in a boarding school; within those walls the priests insist that the body is the source of sin, and that certain physical acts can condemn the soul. Tom, a 13 year-old kid has a hard time struggling against his sexual urges, through this journey of self-discovery he will kiss a girl and then he will engage in mutual masturbation with a boy. Michael Lander’s Peacock (2010), is a somber tale about Cillian Murphy, a shy and nervous man who dresses up as a woman. As a transvestite, he can’t make a decision. Is it better to be a man or a woman? However, troubles begin when Ellen Page and Susan Sarandon enter in the scene. The awful past of the protagonist (which includes a mother that would torture him with the most refined cruelty) is revealed. Certainly no month would be complete without an international selection, and so from Iceland comes Nói Albinói (2003), directed by Dagur Kári. The protagonist is a 17 year-old albino who lives in a secluded town in which nothing of importance happens… until a new girl arrives. The Icelandic landscape, the coldness, the taciturn people, everything is perfectly combined in this strange and original production. Nic Balthazar’s Ben X (2007) is a Belgian movie that explores segregation and bullying in high school. Greg Timmermans is an autistic teenager that tries to survive, literally survive, the attacks of an abusive group of boys. His autism makes it hard for him to establish relationships with other people, and perhaps that’s why it’s so heartbreaking to see how he’s humiliated and mistreated by others. Arguably the best Belgian film I’ve seen in a decade. I highly recommend it. Finally, from Denmark comes At Kende Sandheden (2002) directed by Nils Malmros. Entirely shot in black and white, this production takes place throughout several decades. First we see the protagonist when he was 13 years old, and his reaction to sexuality; when he witnesses two of his friends touching each other he accuses them of lewd behavior. Later on he becomes a doctor and one of Denmark’s most respected neurosurgeons, however, during WWII he will be forced to use a procedure that might cause cancer on his patients; a fact that will haunt him even after his retirement.  ________________________________________________________________________Octubre significa Halloween, ¡y Halloween significa películas de terror! Pero primero empecemos con "Dredd 3D" (2012), dirigida por Pete Travis y protagonizada por Karl Urban. He sido fan de "Judge Dredd" (creado por John Wagner y Carlos Ezquerra) desde que era niño y debo decir que esta es una muy buena adaptación del personaje, todo lo que era genial en el cómic encuentra su lugar en la pantalla grande. El futuro post-apocalíptico, la violencia, la corrupción de una ciudad repleta con millones de ciudadanos desempleados y un guión muy sólido convierten a Dredd en algo que todos deben ver.Me gustaría poder decir lo mismo de un par de películas verdes, y por verdes quiero decir un poco crudas. "Green Lantern" (2011), tiene algunas escenas buenas, aunque el enfoque "para niños" no la deja volar. Y hay serios errores sobre el funcionamiento del anillo de poder (en una escena Hal Jordan crea fuego usando el anillo, algo que nunca ha sido posible en el cómic). "Green Hornet" (2011) tiene suficientes huecos argumentales como para jugar golf en ellos. Un gran error tras otro, una mala decisión tras otra. Es muy decepcionante y ni siquiera el humor sin sentido de algunas escenas puede salvar este desastre.  Ahora, en el frente del terror vi "Sinister" (2012) de Scott Derrickson. Cuando Ethan Hawke, un escritor, empieza a investigar la desaparición de una niña, encuentra unos videos muy perturbadores que muestran a familias enteras asesinadas en sus hogares. Hay algunas escenas realmente fuertes, y un suspenso intenso, o sea todo lo que pido de una película de terror. En casi 3 horas de duración, "It" (1990) adapta la que se considera como una de las mejores novelas de Stephen King. Este es un relato sobre la infancia, la inocencia y una criatura vil que amenaza con destruir las vidas de un grupo de amigos. Tim Curry personifica a un payaso maligno que se especializa en matar niños en un pequeño pueblo. El elenco incluye a buenos actores como Annette O'Toole, John Ritter, Seth Green y Jonathan Brandis.Siempre disfruto al ver a grupos de jóvenes siendo perseguidos por algún maniático, y eso es exactamente lo que sucede en "My Bloody Valentine" (1981). En el día de San Valentín, los cadáveres aparecen por doquier en un pueblito. Un grupo de jóvenes está en las minas celebrando, y se convierten en víctimas. No es algo precisamente profundo, pero sí muy, muy entretenido. "Razorback" (1984), por otro lado, es una película australiana sobre un jabalí salvaje que mata y come gente. El protagonista, sin embargo, deberá pelear contra el animal y también contra algunos individuos sumamente depravados. El film es surrealista por momentos, y muy experimental en términos cinematográficos. Realmente me gustó.Filmado como un documental 'real' "Apollo 18" (2011) se plantea como una misión secreta a la luna. Tres astronautas son enviados para recoger muestras de rocas, pero descubren a un astronauta ruso muerto. ¿Quién lo mató? O, mejor aún, ¿qué lo mató? El cineasta Gonzalo López-Gallego aprovecha al máximo la superficie lunar y el aislamiento de los astronautas para generar una atmósfera única y a veces asfixiante; y los momentos de miedo están bien planeados y bien ejecutados. Sarah Michelle Gellar es una chica acosada por visiones incomprensibles y pesadillas en "The Return" (2006), una película sobre las heridas del pasado y la necesidad de castigar a los culpables. Me pareció interesante, pero un poco débil en el apartado de terror. "It’s Alive" (2008) describe la vida de una joven pareja y su hijo recién nacido. Lo que no pueden imaginar es que este bebé es, de hecho, una criatura monstruosa que mata y devora gente. Lo que me gustó: tiene secuencias violentas. Lo que no me gustó: es innecesariamente moralista especialmente para el género de terror.El amor prohibido y "Romeo y Julieta" son casi sinónimos, pero en "Private Romeo" (2011) lo que tenemos es otro tipo de amor prohibido, aquel que no se atreve a decir su nombre. Un joven cadete se enamora de uno de sus compañeros. La premisa era muy interesante pero el resultado final es una decepción. "The Devil’s Playground" (1976) dirigida por Fred Schepisi lidia con el delicado tema de la adolescencia y el despertar sexual. Con tacto e inteligencia, Schepisi recrea las vidas de un grupo de chicos que se crían en un internado; dentro de estos muros, los curas insisten en que el cuerpo es la fuente del pecado, y que ciertos actos físicos pueden condenar el alma. A Tom, un muchachito de 13 años, le cuesta luchar contra sus ímpetus sexuales, a través de este viaje de auto-descubrimiento besará a una chica y practicará la masturbación mutua con otro chiquillo.  my drawing / mi dibujo"Peacock" (2010) de Michael Lander, es un sombrío relato sobre Cillian Murphy, un hombre tímido y nervioso que se viste como mujer. Como travesti, no pude tomar una decisión. ¿Es mejor ser hombre o mujer? Sin embargo, los problemas empiezan cuando Ellen Page y Susan Sarandon entran en escena. El horrendo pasado del protagonista (que incluye a una madre que lo torturaba con la crueldad más refinada) es revelado.Ciertamente, ningún mes estaría completo sin una selección internacional, y así de Islandia llega "Nói Albinói" (2003), dirigida por Dagur Kári. El protagonista es un albino de 17 años que vive en un pueblo aislado en donde nada importante pasa... hasta que una nueva chica llega. El paisaje islandés, la frialdad, la gente taciturna, todo se combina perfectamente en esta extraña y original producción. "Ben X" (2007) de Nic Balthazar es una película belga que explora la segregación y el acoso en la secundaria. Greg Timmermans es un adolescente autista que intenta sobrevivir, literalmente sobrevivir, a los ataques de un grupo de chicos abusivos. Su autismo le dificulta establecer relaciones con las personas, y tal vez por eso es tan desolador ver cómo es humillado y maltratado por otros. Posiblemente la mejor película belga que he visto en una década. La recomiendo de todas maneras. Finalmente, de Dinamarca llega "At Kende Sandheden" (2002) dirigida por Nils Malmros. Filmada enteramente en blanco y negro, esta cinta abarca varias décadas. Primero, vemos al protagonista cuando tenía 13 años, y su reacción a la sexualidad; cuando ve a dos de sus amigos tocándose el uno al otro, los acusa de conducta lasciva. Después, se convierte en doctor y en uno de los más respetados neurocirujanos de Dinamarca, sin embargo, durante la segunda guerra mundial se verá obligado a usar un procedimiento que podría causarle cáncer a sus pacientes; un hecho que lo acosará incluso después de su jubilación.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/11/october-films-peliculas-de-octubre.html

Review: Doctor Strange Season One

Review: Doctor Strange Season One

By Rui Esteves in Blog on November 1, 2012

Cover Marvel's Season One line focus on retelling of established superheros origin story. And this one retreads the penance path of Stephen Strange into enlightenment and magic.Stephen will have to learn to deal with a witty Ancient One, a arrogant Mordo, a reckless Wong and mysterious Sofia Di Cosimo.This adventure will take Stephen and the reader around the world and back, in search of 3 rings of power that together are able to control the Vishanti.How good is it?I went into Doctor Strange Season One with no expectations. I like reading comics that are Magic themed and also like the little I've read about Doctor Strange. It seemed a good choice.Greg Pak brings us the retelling of the origin of Doctor Strange. Right out of the box it starts telling us some very important events in Stephen's life instead of showing us. If the reader isn't familiarized with Doctor Strange's origin, it will be hard to understand the meaning of the journey.There are many leaps of faith the reader has to make during this story. Either Pak was to ambitious with his story or very careless, because the amount of events that happen just because is mind-boggling. For instance, the first time Mordo makes an appearance, and supposedly the first time he meets Stephen, he tells him about his plan to betray the Ancient One on the 5th phrase.The rest of the book feels like a Where is Carmen Sandiego cartoon. Our heroes skip around the world on a quest for 3 rings of power. It is all very convenient and straight forward. The best aspect of the story is the 3 ring owners that they find. One a rotten apple, one a giving man and a crazy old woman. Cool mix of ideas but, like the rest of the book, not very well executed.The absolute worst was how Stephen was able to beat Mordo in battle. Not going into details, but when I think Magic, and future Sorcerer Supreme, I don't think what happened in the book. Maybe Pak was trying to be funny or throw off the reader giving him something unexpected. He managed to do the latter but in a bad way.Emma Rios's art still has a long way to go before its great. It does the job, every character is distinguishable, but apart from that it leaves a bit to be desired. Usually is too muddy and undefined, especially when magic is being practiced. Clothes make the man Most fights with Mordo are a mess of green streaks and yellow dashes that are meant represent something but in many panels are very hard to understand. In the non action panels however the art is considerable better. Characters are better defined and emotions are transmitted to the reader in a competent way. Evil magic is evilThis hardcover also has the first issue of the new Defenders series. Well those pages would be better spend in the main story. Maybe that way Pak could have the time needed to flesh out plot. Would I recommend it?Unless you really have to read this, or are a die hard Doctor Strange fan, then I don't recommend this book.The story is too convenient most of the time. Character motivations are far from believable, and Stephen method of defeating Mordo took me right out of the story.Keep in mind that its not all bad, for example the dynamics between Wong and Stephen is a cool twist on the classic relationship. But if we put the good against the bad this book just isn't worth his price. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/11/review-doctor-strange-season-one.html


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Mind the Gap # 2 - Jim McCann Rodin Esquejo

Mind the Gap # 2 - Jim McCann Rodin Esquejo

By Arion in Blog on October 30, 2012

I think I was 12 years old when I first read a Sherlock Holmes book, and in an instant I became a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation. Who doesn’t enjoy following clues and solving mysteries? Evidently, in the 21st century the classic ‘whodunit’ has changed. And “Mind the Gap” is a nice example of the creative alternatives we might find in this particular literary genre.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/mind-gap-2-jim-mccann-rodin-esquejo.html

Review: Star Wars Omnibus Tales of the Jedi Volume 1

Review: Star Wars Omnibus Tales of the Jedi Volume 1

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 30, 2012

Cover 5000 years BBY the Star Wars Universe was very different.The exploration of the Galaxy was a place for pioneers only, Light Sabers still had a external power cell and the Jedi and the Sith were very different than the ones we came to know and love in the Luke Skywalker era.Learn of the corruption of Naga Sadow and the recreation of the Sith species, the rise of Ulic Qel-Droma and the origin of Nomi Sunrider.Tales of the Jedi details the stories that first defined one of the most exciting eras of the Star Wars expanded Universe, and it all starts with this first volume.How good is it?This omnibus is, simply put, 400 pages of great stories set in the (arguably) best and most exciting era in the Star Wars expanded Universe.Star Wars Omnibus Tales of the Jedi Volume 1 is mostly about Naga Sadow, a corrupted Jedi that embraces the dark side and has a era specific Sith concept (later picked up in Star Wars Legacy, 150 ABY). The one Sith, a race of Sith here the strong strive and the weak perish, a society were the Sith Lord's rule is absolute and with very little room for individuality or free will.Of the 3 story arcs in this omnibus the first 2 (The Golden Age of the Sith, The Fall of the Sith Empire) are mainly about the Sith.I liked this story very much, mainly because its not a Luke Skywalker "ish" story. Its not about "The Special One" Jedi that is prophesied to rise and bring peace back to the galaxy. Instead its about how a Sith Lord gained power and influence among the Sith race. How he tried to conquer the galaxy by force and how it ultimately turned out and its consequences.For a book entitled Tales of the Jedi it dedicates a great deal of its content to Sith centric stories. Don't get me wrong, its a very interesting story I just find the title somewhat misleading.The other story has the most imposing and epic title ever placed on a Star Wars comic book story, Knights of the Old Republic. Two of the best Star Wars video games of all times will inherit this name as will another Star Wars comic book series further down the line.Knights of the Old Republic will introduce the reader to two very strong and captivating characters. Ulic Qel-Droma and Nomi Sunrider. Here we will follow Ulic's rise in the Jedi ranks as well as Nomi's blossoming into Jedi Knighthood. Nomi is a rare, but much needed, type of character in the Star Wars Universe, a strong female lead. Her origin story will have a very familiar feel, but all is forgiven because she is a very interesting character indeed. She is far from a usual Jedi. She is a, well, she, also she didn't get drafted has a youngling nor conforms to the usual mindset of the Jedi.Most these stories were printed back in the last half of the 90s, and they show their age. The art is a bit dated and the narrative shows some aging at times, but its still very enjoyable. Even considering its age , the art is still very good considering the usual Star Wars books art standard. In other words, while it won't make you want to join the empire it will still make you externally powered light saber look awesome. Especially in the Naga Sadow's story. The Ulic Qel-Droma and Nomi Sunrider story the art suffers a bit more, but is still very enjoyable. Ulic Qel-Droma Nomi Sunrider Would I recommend it?Most definitely.This collects the first stories of my favorite, and arguably most original, Star Wars era in comics in a very affordable package. The origin of Nomi Sunrider, the rise of Ulic Qel-Droma and the empire of Naga Sadow are stories very worth a couple of read through. If any other reason is necessary then why not read the stories that inspired the truly great KOTOR video games. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-star-wars-omnibus-tales-of-jedi.html

X-Men: Manifest Destiny

X-Men: Manifest Destiny

By Arion in Blog on October 28, 2012

Humberto RamosI grew up reading comic book anthologies: 2000AD, Zona 84, Cimoc, Creepy, etc. Reuniting a group of writers and artists in the same book is not a common practice in the US market, but there is something almost magical about the diversity of talents and the variety of stories you can find in these compilations.However there is something else that makes anthologies special. A limited page count is a magnificent creative challenge for the authors. In 2000AD, brilliant creators such as Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan or John Wagner were perfectly capable of writing astonishing and unforgettable tales in a couple of pages. In the case of Zona 84, Cimoc and Creepy the situation was even better, since these editions included a selection of the best European writers and artists: Enrique Sánchez Abulí, Esteban Maroto, Carlos Giménez, Alfonso Font, Josep María Beá, Carlos Trillo, Horacio Altuna, Moebius, Eleuteri Serpieri, Antonio Segura, José Ortiz, Sergio Toppi, F de Felipe, Vicente Segrelles, Manfred Sommer, Patrick Cothias, André Juillard, François Bourgeon, Milo Manara, Hugo Pratt, François Boucq, Jean Van Hamme, Grzegorz Rosinski, Vittorio Giardino, Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mézières, Tanino Liberatore, Hermann and dozens more that I’m surely forgetting. So for me, an anthology done well should be always better than a regular comic book. With a more totalizing perspective, the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts. So I celebrate Marvel’s decision for publishing an X-Men anthology that, indeed, was much better than the usual single-author six-issue arc of any of the regular X-Men titles. “X-Men: Manifest Destiny” proves the high level of quality that Marvel writers and artists can achieve when they’re not forced to write stories that always last 132 pages and that fit in nicely in a hardcover or trade paperback. Because, although people don’t often see it that way, the six-issue arc euphoria is limiting the inventiveness of the writers in the same way that it would seriously constraint the imagination of any novelist if they were forced to stick to 132 pages, especially when the story they want to tell would fit better in less pages.There are 11 stories in this 5-issue miniseries from 2008. So, I’ll talk about all of them in no particular order. The largest story is “Kill or Cure”, written by Mike Carey, with pencils by Michael Ryan and inks by Victor Olazaba, which revolves around the unhealthy relationship between Ice Man and Mystique. With her shape-shifting abilities, the villainess has posed as Bobby Drake’s girlfriend and has tried to poison the mutant with a substance that will kill him; unless he learns how to make his powers evolve fast enough to cure himself. With a very interesting scientific background, Carey writes a story that makes us feel interested in the only founding member of the X-Men that hasn’t experienced any life-altering events or any relevant epiphanies. Of course, not all characters are as famous as Ice Man, others are slightly more obscure such as Tabitha Smith (AKA Boom-Boom, AKA Meltdown) courtesy of James Asmus and Chris Burnham or Mercury (by C.B. Cebulski and Andre Coelho); others are old villains like Avalanche, the protagonist of “Nick’s”, a story written by Frank Tieri and drawn by Ben Oliver. In some cases we get to see heroes that are not as famous as they used to be or that have lost all their fame, at least in the ever demanding eyes of the reader. I wonder who remembers Karma, from the original New Mutants (which, by the way, I reviewed here), or the ordeals she went through such as her depression and her morbid obesity. Marvel editor C.B. Cebulski writes an extraordinary story, illustrated by David Yardin, about Karma, about a woman that has fought against all her enemies and triumphed only to be defeated by her own state of mind; unable to regain control over her life, she must learn an important lesson from Emma Frost (White Queen). Michael RyanSkottie Young, famous for drawing baby versions of the Marvel heroes, writes a very amusing story about Juggernaut. It would have been great to see his art, but penciler / inker Dan Panosian does quite a good job in showing us a hesitant Juggernaut. In a paltry bar, in the outskirts of a small town, Juggernaut ponders the advantages of either joining the X-Men or remain as their enemy. With very witty dialogues and funny situations, Skottie Young proves why the unstoppable Juggernaut is “Good with the Bad”. I’ve been talking about the fascinating evolution of Emma Frost (White Queen) here; from a cruel and cold woman to a very complex and alluring adventuress in recent times. In “Flaw” by Chris Yost and Paco Diaz we see Emma Frost like we’ve never seen here before: insecure, worried and with a guilty conscience. After the disappearance of Kitty Pride at the end of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men, everything has changed for the mutant team. White Queen is as perfect as a diamond, but it’s said that every diamond has a fundamental flaw. Yost manages to make Frost’s worries and doubts as real as the pages we’re holding.   Chris Yost also writes “Uncheerable”, a very introspective tale about Colossus’s grieving process. Now that Kitty Pride is gone, life for Colossus is devoid of meaning and purpose. Depressed and tired, the Russian hero can’t be cheered up by Wolverine and Nightcrawler who do their best to make him feel better (they go out and end up watching a movie about a man who sees his girlfriend die in front of him, they throw a party for him in San Francisco which is attended mainly by gay man into ‘colossal’ fetishes, Ice Man suggests him to hire a prostitute and ‘have fun’ and so on). Finally, in the last page Yost surprises the reader with a really emotive and melancholic scene, which is only enhanced by the cartoonish art of Humberto Ramos. Perhaps, equally sad is “Work It Out”, a story in which Nightcrawler must come to terms with the loss of Kitty Pride, his best friend and confidant. After years of knowing each other (the two mutants met in an X-Men comic published in 1979), Nightcrawler feels sorry for not being there when Kitty needed him the most. James Asmus and Takeshi Miyazawa are responsible for this very intense story. “Dazzler: Solo” is also strangely melancholic. When Dazzler first appeared in the X-Men comics in the late 70s, disco music was still popular. Thirty years later, the disco queen finds herself lost in today’s world, unable to adapt to the new music scene. She was famous in the past, and now she has lost all fame and money. She’s desperate, and in only a handful of pages, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Sara Pichelli prove that even in the darkest hours, hope can still shine through. David YardinCharles Xavier's mansion is located on Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center (Westchester County, New York). The Graymalkin name has been attached to Salem for generations, but there is a story about the Graymalkin family that has never been printed in books or newspapers. All the secrets are revealed in Abomination by Marc Guggenheim (script), Yanick Paquette (pencils) and Serge Lapointe & Nathan Fairbairn (inks). “Manifest Destiny” was an ideological term coined in the 19th century, in an era in which prosperity was the ultimate goal. So it’s only fitting that this story should take place in the 21st century with constant flashbacks to the 19th century. Here, Beast (Hank McCoy) finds out that Graymalkin, a young mutant that hasn’t been in Xavier’s school for long, was buried alive; since his mutant powers are activated in the absence of light, he was able to survive for decades until a skirmish with the sentinels destroyed his tomb, thus setting him free. Beast wonders what could possibly be the cause of this entombment… certainly, as a 16-year-old boy, Graymalkin was still a normal teenager, at least on the surface. With great subtlety, Guggenheim describes another kind of prejudice and hatred. The abomination did not refer to mutant genes but rather sexual orientation. Graymalkin was having an intimate moment with another boy when his father runs into him. Enraged, the old man beats the kid until he’s nearly dead and then buries him. Graymalkin confesses this traumatic experience to Anole, another gay student and former member of the Young X-Men. The word homosexual or gay is never pronounced but there’s no need for it. We all understand what the story is about, and seeing the two teenagers sitting together and looking at San Francisco’s Bay is a tremendously tender and moving image. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Crecí leyendo antologías de cómics: 2000AD, Zona 84, Cimoc, Creepy, etc. Reunir a un grupo de escritores y artistas en el mismo título no es una práctica común en el mercado norteamericano, pero hay algo casi mágico en la diversidad de talentos y la variedad de historias que pueden encontrarse en estas compilaciones. Paco DiazSin embargo hay algo más que hace que una antología sea especial. Contar con pocas páginas es un magnífico reto creativo para los autores. En 2000AD, creadores brillantes como Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan o John Wagner eran más que capaces de escribir relatos asombrosos e inolvidables en un par de páginas. En el caso de Zona 84, Cimoc y Creepy la situación era incluso mejor, ya que estas ediciones incluían una selección de los mejores escritores y artistas europeos: Enrique Sánchez Abulí, Esteban Maroto, Carlos Giménez, Alfonso Font, Josep María Beá, Carlos Trillo, Horacio Altuna, Moebius, Eleuteri Serpieri, Antonio Segura, José Ortiz, Sergio Toppi, F de Felipe, Vicente Segrelles, Manfred Sommer, Patrick Cothias, André Juillard, François Bourgeon, Milo Manara, Hugo Pratt, François Boucq, Jean Van Hamme, Grzegorz Rosinski, Vittorio Giardino, Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mézières, Tanino Liberatore, Hermann y docenas más que seguramente estoy olvidando.  Yanick PaquetteAsí que para mí, una antología bien hecha debería ser siempre mejor que un cómic común y corriente. Con una perspectiva más abarcadora, el todo debería ser superior que la suma de sus partes. Así que celebro la decisión de Marvel de publicar una antología de X-Men que, de hecho, fue mucho mejor que los típicos arcos argumentales de seis números de las colecciones habituales.“X-Men: destino manifiesto” demuestra el alto nivel de calidad que pueden alcanzar los escritores y dibujantes de Marvel cuando no están obligados a escribir historias que siempre duran 132 páginas y que encajan muy bien en los tomos de tapa dura o tapa blanda. Porque aunque la gente no lo vea así, la euforia del arco argumental de seis partes está limitando la inventiva de los escritores del mismo modo que constreñiría seriamente la imaginación de cualquier novelista obligado a trabajar con 132 páginas, especialmente cuando la historia que quisieran contar funcionaría mejor con menos páginas.Hay 11 historias en esta miniserie de 5 números del 2008. Así que hablare sobre ellas sin ningún orden en particular. La historia más larga es "Matar o curar", escrita por  Mike Carey, con lápices de Michael Ryan y tintas de Victor Olazaba, que gira en torno a la enfermiza relación entre Ice Man y Mystique. Con su habilidad de cambiar de forma, la villana ha fingido ser la enamorada de Bobby Drake y ha intentado envenenar al mutante con una substancia que lo matará; a menos que él aprenda cómo hacer que sus poderes evolucionen para poder curarse a sí mismo. Con un interesante enfoque científico, Carey escribe una historia que nos hace sentir interesados en el único miembro fundador de los X-Men que no ha experimentado eventos que alteren su vida ni epifanías relevantes. Yanick PaquettePor supuesto, no todos los personajes son tan famosos como Ice Man, otros son ligeramente más oscuros como Tabitha Smith (Boom-Boom y/o Meltdown), cortesía de James Asmus y Chris Burnham o Mercury (de C.B. Cebulski y Andre Coelho); otros son viejos villanos como Avalanche, el protagonista de “Nick’s”, una historia escrita por Frank Tieri y dibujada por Ben Oliver. En algunos casos vemos héroes que no son tan famosos como solían ser o que han perdido toda su fama al menos para los ojos de los lectores demandantes. Me pregunto quién recuerda a Karma, de los Nuevos Mutantes originales (que, por cierto, comenté hace poco aquí), o las tribulaciones que afrontó, como su depresión o su obesidad mórbida. El editor de Marvel C.B. Cebulski escribe una historia extraordinaria, ilustrada por David Yardin sobre Karma, una mujer que ha luchado contra todos sus enemigos y ha triunfado, sólo para ser derrotada por su propio estado mental; incapaz de recuperar el control sobre su vida, ella debe aprender una importante lección de Emma Frost (White Queen).Skottie Young, famoso por dibujar versiones bebé de los héroes Marvel, escribe una muy entretenida historia sobre Juggernaut. El dibujante Dan Panosian hace un trabajo bastante bueno al mostrarnos a un Juggernaut dubitativo. En un pequeño bar, en las afueras de un pueblito insignificante, Juggernaut sopesa las ventajas de unirse a los X-Men o seguir siendo su enemigo. Con diálogos muy ingeniosos y situaciones divertidas, Skottie Young demuestra por qué el imparable Juggernaut es "Bueno siendo malo". He estado hablando sobre la fascinante evolución de Emma Frost (White Queen) aquí; de una mujer cruel y fría a una aventurera compleja y atrayente en la actualidad. En "Defecto", de Chris Yost y Paco Diaz vemos a Emma Frost como nunca antes: insegura, preocupada y con una conciencia culposa. Luego de la desaparición de Kitty Pride al final de Astonishing X-Men de Joss Whedon y John Cassaday, todo ha cambiado en el equipo mutante. White Queen es tan perfecta como un diamante, pero todos los diamantes tienen una falla fundamental. Yost se las arregla para hacer que las preocupaciones y dudas de Frost sean tan reales como la página que estamos sujetando. Takeshi MiyazawaChris Yost también escribe "Inanimable" una historia muy introspectiva sobre el proceso de duelo de Colossus. Ahora que Kitty Pride ya no está, la vida de Colossus está desprovista de significado y propósito. Deprimido y cansado, el héroe ruso no puede ser animado por Wolverine y Nightcrawler quienes hacen lo posible para hacerlo sentir mejor (se van al cine y terminan viendo una película en la que un hombre ve morir a su enamorada, hacen una fiesta para él en San Francisco y van sobre todo gays interesados en fetiches 'colosales', Ice Man le sugiere contratar una prostituta para divertirse, etc.). Finalmente, en la última página Yost sorprende al lector con una escena realmente emotiva y melancólica, que es mejorada por el arte caricaturesco de Humberto Ramos. Tal vez, igualmente triste sería "Arréglalo", una historia en la que Nightcrawler debe lidiar con la pérdida de Kitty Pride, su confidente y mejor amiga (ambos personajes se conocieron en la colección de X-Men en 1979), Nightcrawler se lamenta no haber podido ayudar a Kitty cuando ella más lo necesitaba. James Asmus y Takeshi Miyazawa son responsables de esta intensa historia. “Dazzler: Solo” es también extrañamente melancólica. Cuando Dazzler apareció por primera vez a fines de los 70, la música disco todavía era popular. Treinta años después, la reina del disco se encuentra perdida en el mundo, incapaz de adaptarse a la actual escena musical. Ella era famosa en el pasado, y ahora ha perdido toda su fama y todo su dinero. Está desesperada, y en un puñado de páginas, el escritor Kieron Gillen y la artista Sara Pichelli demuestran que incluso en las horas más oscuras, la esperanza todavía puede brillar.La mansión de Charles Xavier está localizada en Graymalkin Lane, en Salem Center (condado de Westchester, New York). El nombre de los Graymalkin ha estado asociado a Salem por generaciones, pero hay una historia oculta sobre la familia Graymalkin. Todos los secretos son revelados en "Abominación" de Marc Guggenheim (guión), Yanick Paquette (lápices) y Serge Lapointe y Nathan Fairbairn (tintas). El "destino manifiesto" era un término ideológico acuñado en el siglo XIX, en una era en la que la prosperidad era la meta definitiva. Así que tiene sentido que esta historia transcurra en el siglo XXI con constantes flashbacks al siglo XIX. Aquí, Beast (Hank McCoy) descubre que Graymalkin, un joven mutante que ha llegado hace poco a la escuela de Xavier, fue enterrado vivo; como sus poderes mutantes se activan en la ausencia de luz, fue capaz de sobrevivir por décadas hasta que una refriega con los centinelas destruyó su tumba, liberándolo. Beast se pregunta por qué fue enterrado... ciertamente, a los 16 años, Graymalkin todavía era un adolescente normal, al menos en la superficie. Con gran sutileza, Guggenheim describe otro tipo de prejuicio y odio. La abominación no se refiere a los genes mutantes sino más bien a la orientación sexual. Cuando Graymalkin comparte un momento íntimo con otro muchacho, su padre lo sorprende. Enfurecido, el viejo golpea al chiquillo hasta dejarlo casi muerto, y luego lo entierra. Graymalkin le confiesa esta traumática experiencia a Anole, otro estudiante gay y ex integrante de los Jóvenes X-Men. La palabra homosexual o gay nunca es pronunciada y tampoco hace falta. Todos entendemos de qué se trata la historia, y ver juntos a los dos adolescentes que observan la bahía de San Francisco es una imagen tremendamente tierna y conmovedora.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/x-men-manifest-destiny.html

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men Volume 2

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men Volume 2

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 28, 2012

Cover Kitty Pride seems to to pregnant. How did this happen and will she be brave enough to tell Peter about it?The funding for the school runs out after just a couple of weeks after opening the doors. How did this came to be and what will the Headmaster do to solve the problem.Beast is shrinking kids and taking them for a joy ride in somebody's well... body. Don't ask.And what does the Hellfire Club do to piss off the Beast?All this and more in this second volume.How good is it?Before getting into to the review itself, if you didn't read Wolverine and The X-Men Volume 1 and Wolverine and The X-Men Omega (review coming soon) then you might find spoilers in the paragraphs that follow.Unlike the first volume, in this book Jason Aaron opted to write 5 or 6 concurrent stories that are spread out throw this second volume. These stories intercept and lead to each other in very interesting ways, almost Sin City style but at a smaller scale. Aaron did a great job telling theses tales, never forcing them to intertwine or rushing things.My favorite is the last one, when he manages to tick the Beast off IN SPACEEEEEEE. Seeing the blue fuzzy  loosing it was quite the moment. But the star of the book is Kitty's pregnancy. Kitty goes from zero to ready to give birth in two days. Of course this isn't normal. She knows that there's no way the pregnancy is normal. She didn't do the nasty.[spoiler]Have you ever seen Fantastic Voyage? Well basically that's how the Kitty situation is solved. While its becoming a cliche, Aaron does it in a masterful way.[/ spoiler]The Beast takes the class on the strangest, yet greatest, biology lesson, well ever. Its basically setup for another plot point, but is great fun reading that adventure.Aaron does a little spotlight on Broo, the smart Broodling, cute little guy that wants nothing more than to learn. I love his character and am fearful for his future. Aaron planted the seed for a Broo story that might take him through a path from where there is no return.The other big story is about the school's funding. Well it ends. To try to solve this problem Wolverine takes Quentin Quire on an intergalactic adventure. This is a fun, but inconsequential, story that will put Logan in a position I didn't imagine him in. Then again I never imagine him as a headmaster either. Getting the money the school needs Art wise it keeps with the same artistic line as the previous volume, but the first pages seem to be somewhat off the standard. From the middle on it pics up and the last pages are pure genius  Those shoots of the Beast in space are very very good.Overhaul, this volume does a great job following the previous one and planting new plot seed for the next one. Don't get Broo angry Don't get the Beast angry either Would I recommend it?This one is, without a doubt, a buy. Its a cool book that keeps throwing the Universe and other dimensions of trouble in our heroes way.  On top of the great plot this book is supported by good art.However, if you have not read the previous volume, then go read it first.Wolverine and the X-men is very entertaining, this volume keep it up, and shows great promise for the foreseeable future. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-wolverine-and-x-men-volume-2.html

Aluminación - Luitpol Ruiz (Dédalo)

Aluminación - Luitpol Ruiz (Dédalo)

By Arion in Blog on October 26, 2012

Beautiful Thing (1996)Directed by Hettie Macdonald How far should one travel in order to find love? Sometimes, it seems, only a few steps would be necessary. That's what happens in "Beautiful Thing" (based on Jonathan Harvey's play) when Jamie and his neighbor Ste get romantically involved.Only a few decades ago, a number of theories tried to explain the origin of homosexuality. Which is only baffling as one might wonder, why didn't they try to explain heterosexuality? But alas, the heterosexual domain is what constitutes the symbolic order, and thus all other forms of sexuality are bluntly banned or at least discarded.Freud's followers tried to explain homosexuality in the most contrived ways. For example, the absence of a fatherly figure would dangerously wreak havoc in a child's psyche, thus neutralizing the normal course of the Oedipus complex (since there is no father to rival against for the love of the mother, the whole structure falls apart). This sort of theory could be easily applied to someone like Jamie, who has no father and lives with his strong-willed, almost masculine mother that symbolically castrates her temporary male partners.But what happens with Ste? His homosexuality cannot be explained by a textbook approach like the one that so easily fits into Jamie's background. Nor does it need to. And this is what should be considered one of the most important things about this movie. You don't need to explain homosexuality any more than you need to explain heterosexuality. One is just as natural and beautiful as the other. Can gay and straight people coexist? Or there will be constant struggle and friction? Hettie Macdonald's film elicits a possible answer that will only provide the viewer with hope. After all, if an infraction of the Lacanian symbolic order is committed, id est, the homosexual relationship, then it's only logical to deconstruct that symbolic order. Deconstruction does not mean destruction, deconstruction focus in the fissures present in every structure and takes advantage of them in order to rearticulate the symbolic order (society, any given society, is first and foremost a symbolic order, that would constantly readapt and modify depending on the individuals that are part of that society). my drawing / mi dibujoJamie and Ste achieve that task admirably. It's a long way, though, from simple friendship, to the first hazed and rushed sexual exploration, to the difficulty in assuming their roles and true sexuality, to the stable relationship they solidify with time and patience.Perhaps the fullest, most powerful, affirmation of the deconstruction of the previous symbolic order is the final scene. I won't spoil it to those who haven't seen it yet, suffice to say rather than a "beautiful thing" it is a very beautiful moment. Usually I don't like films about hope, as I am rather devoid of such virtue, but I found the end both touching and immensely reaffirming. Sometimes, I guess, it's not to so bad to dream of a world where gays and straight people can, indeed, coexist peacefully. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Ayer en la noche se inauguró la muestra “Aluminación” de Luitpol Ruiz en Dédalo. El artista, en un derroche de imaginación, ha creado diversos objetos hechos con aluminio; desde autos con una cierta línea art deco ensamblados a partir de botellas de vodka Danzka hasta encantadores robots con cajas de aluminio de Jack Daniel’s. En esta ocasión, hubo una barra de vodka Danzka así que aproveché para pedirme un vodka con jugo de naranja, otro con jugo de cranberry y otro con agua tónica. Justo andaba en esas cuando me encontré con Pedro Casusol, encargado de prensa de Dédalo. Nos quedamos conversando un par de horas sobre libros, cómics y películas, y me regaló generosamente un ejemplar de su novela breve “Coca, keta y marihuana”. Durante el transcurso de la noche saludé a Eduardo Lores, a Isabelle Decencière y a Hugo Alegre. También conversé un poco con Fernando Carvallo, Sebastián Lores y María Elena Fernández (y de hecho me tomaron un par de fotos con ella). Y finalmente acompañé a Carmen Alegre hasta su casa. Sin duda un evento sumamente entretenido.Los dejo con un cuadro de Michele del Campo y un dibujo mío. La versión original la pueden encontrar aquí.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/aluminacion-luitpol-ruiz-dedalo.html

Review: Joe the Barbarian

Review: Joe the Barbarian

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 25, 2012

CoverJoe the Barbarian is all about Joe, a 15 year old diabetic boy that suffers a diabetic shock while home alone. To survive Joe has to journey from his room to the kitchen in search of a soda to fix his blood sugar. In the way Joe finds himself in the middle of a war between the Kingdom and King Death.The Kingdom is generated by Joe's hallucination and is populated by all the toys, pets and all sort of aspects of Joe's daily life. Its a rich environment with a geography that mimics Joe's house and is filled with all sort of perils and a vast array of inhabitants.Its a fantasy story with more to it than it seems at first glance.How good is it?Grant Morrison is a great writer, but some of his work drink from the metaphysical pool a bit too much. As such many readers have gained antibodies to his writing. Luckily this in Joe the Barbarian Morrison brought his A game. The story is very straight forward, of course there are still some metaphysical aspects for the reader to explore, but all very simple to follow.Joe is a diabetic 15 year old boy that suffers a diabetic shock and tries to make his way to the kitchen in order to drink a soda and fix his blood sugar. That's it. The narrative is born from that and grows into an epic quest  to stop King Death and bring light back to the Kingdom. While this is a obvious metaphor for Joe's situation you'll find out that its much more than that.Morrison explores many aspects of Joe's life, such as his relationship with is dead father, the family life after the death of his father or the isolation and Joe feels. He does this very well, never feeling forced or hammered in, but natural and fluid. The best part of Morrison's approach to Joe the Barbarian is that the hallucination is just that. Joe has a strong hallucination because he suffers a diabetic shock. The enjoyment the reader takes is of the journey Joe has to undertake and what it means for himself and for his family.Talking about that will spoil the story, but one thing is sure, you wont get a cliche ending of the kind "this was all a dream", and it is very rewarding. What is not a spoiler is that you'll get a good journey story, some medieval type action and great dialogue between Joe and his pet mouse.On a side note, Joe the Barbarian is not Joe the main character. Its actually a very sweet little note Morrison throws in the story.The writing is very good indeed, but where this book excels is in the department. Its hard to put to words how much Sean Murphy's art adds to Joe's story. The dynamic of the panels, the detailed character and backgrounds design, the two universes (regular and hallucination) and most of all, the clarity of the art itself.In highly details artwork its common for it to become gorgeous as a still image but difficult to look at as sequential art but Sean Murphy does have a masterful control of his craft and offers the reader a truly rewarding visual experience. In other words, awesome eye-candy. Everyone to Joe's rescue The mightiest of PetsWould I recommend it?This is a great book. Sure its is by Morrison and as such is a bit insane at times, but he keeps it under tight restraints. The art is just phenomenal. The story is simple, but every time you read it you get something extra from it.Joe the Barbarian is a must have for any comic book reader. I highly recommend it. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-joe-barbarian.html

Review: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

Review: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 24, 2012

Cover We all know the story of Dorothy and her journey to find the mighty Wizard of Oz. The faithful pooch Toto, the brave Cowardly Lion, the smart Scarecrow and the gentile Tin Woodman will be Dorothy's party has she walks the lands of Oz in search of the mighty Wizard that can lead her home.From Kansas to the Emerald City,through the yellow brick road and back again, Dorothy adventures through the land of Oz in the hope she'll be able to return no Kansas.In 2009 Marvel started to publish Eric Shanower's adaptation of  L. Frank Baum's Oz books to comic book format. Logically this was the first.How good is it?There isn't much point in talking about the story itself. Its been with us for generations. Its a very good children story that can be enjoyed by anyone, any age.Eric Shanower decided to adapt L. Frank Baum's Oz books to comic book format, and he made an excellent job with this one. The dialogue and the narration is masterfully adapted, its not hard to forget that this was not written for this format.The love Shanower has for Baum's work is evident and it helps to make this book as good as it is. I doesn't matter if you've read the story before, you will enjoy reading it again and rooting for Dorothy to be able to get back to her uncles in Kansas.Art wise, this book is majestic. Skottie Young's art is absolutely glorious. The cartoonish feel Young brings to this book is exactly the right tone, precisely the right color and just the right amount of sweetness. All the characters are extremely expressive.The coloring is amazing. The difference between Kansas, the Emerald city, the flashbacks and all the other locations / situations makes them imminently identifiable be the color of the background alone.The backgrounds are very detailed. The yellow brick road alone there in all its yellow glory.Young's art is reason enough to buy this book. Monkeys, monkeys everywhere I have the hardcover edition and it has many extras. The usual but very enjoyable cover gallery, some page sketches and a introduction by Eric Shanower. I usually don't talk about extras because most are not worth the notice, but in this case you should read the introduction. Its a heartfelt love letter from Shanower to  Baum's work, and it puts you in the right mood for reading this book. Is the wicked witch home? Big Lion scares easily Would I recommend it?This is a great book. I imagine L. Frank Baum would be proud when reading his most famous story in comic book format. This is truly a labor of love by Shanower and accompanied masterfully by Young's art.If you're searching an all ages book, or even if you're not, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of the correct choices.The story is undeniably good, the art alone is a reason to buy this book. It his highly recommended to have this on your shelf. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-wonderful-wizard-of-oz.html

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

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