Cloverfield & Kirkman
So there we were, in a giant, hanger-like structure, built into the very rock of the island. Below us were miles of tunnels and chambers stretching down into the Earth -they would be easy to seal off and were stocked with enough food to last a thousand people for fifty years. Which was good, because that’s about how many of us there were. The cavernous space offered little protection -it’s ceiling was too high. But once we organized the evacuation, the people would be safe.
Which was good because out on the surface the 100′ mutant sauoid was making a real job of ruining the day of any soft, squishy people whose path it happened to cross. It’s volkswagon-sized offspring were already making a mess in the super-structure above the hangar, and one had even made it down there accidentally. The authorities were fairly certain we killed it before it could call its brethren with its mind-waves.
I’d been aware of the big stompy monster threat for some time now. How could I not be? The convention center/superhero high school was practically ground zero for the catastrophe. But I was upstairs in my hotel room, which looked exactly like my childhood bedroom, trying to have sex with the stoic, and heavily armed, warrior princess whom I assumed was native to Monster Island, because she carried an assortment of medieval weapons and wore an animal hide costume that left her taught belly and darkly tanned thighs exposed.
She referred to herself as my wife, and at first I refused to take the bait. I knew Dorinda, and she was soft and pale, not buff and over-tanned. Besides, I was pretty sure Dorinda had no idea how to use a sword, so there was just no way that this was her. But the male will is weak, and I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I thought that having sex with her was probably the prudent thing to do, given the circumstances.
Unfortunately a constant stream of interruptions, from the Widget, my mom, the hotel consierge, and the leading council of the anti-monster resistance league, prevented us from getting beyond the heavy petting stage. On the plus side, by the second interruption, with everyone calling this Nubian warrior princess “Dorinda”, I was totally convinced that she was my wife, and that having sex with her would be a guilt-free, totally legit thing to do. If only everyone would leave so I could get back to work on that tricky knot holding her lepord skin bikini briefs on!
But no. Someone had to go outside and turn on the solar collectors that would provide power to the underground tunnels for generations to come. I suggested they send some of the screaming masses already outside. They didn’t seem to be doing anything but running back and forth making a lot of noise while the giant monster, and it’s slightly less giant offspring, grazed on them. Lord knows none of THEM were in here, sensibly trying to get into the pants of their African Goddess-wives. Idiots.
But alas, it had to be me. I thought about asking Dorinda if I could borrow her sword, or perhaps her extra spear, but the cold scorn in her eyes told me that it was best just to leave. I could arm myself later. Besides, lacking her no-doubt inhuman strength, there was little change I could do much damage to even the smallest 6-limbed, puss dripping monster.
We traveled down about thirty flights of wobbly, metal mesh enclosed, stairs. I was pretty sure they came from Curtis High School. towards the bottom, stairs and hand rails began to disappear like gossamer soap bubbles. I’m not sure how we made it. But suddenly we were at the refugee registration area, where we would pick up the convention badges that would let us back into the tunnels once we were done with our missions. I would have sworn I was standing in Jim Hanley’s Universe, but there was just no way you could fit that many panicked movie extras into such a small comic book shop.
At first I thought I had to venture solo out to the solar panel array, but it turned out I would have company -Dave the fry cook from Northern Exposure, and some guy named Mike the cyborg. He kind of looked like Kevin from Kids in The Hall, except his arm could turn into a rocket launcher. I decided to stick close to Mike.
Once we were outside my memory of events gets hazy. there was a lot of running, a lot of screaming and shouting, a detour back to the convention center to scout the tunnels, as well as an alcoholic sister-in-law who lived in a trailer in New Mexico, drove a 79′ Chevy El Cameno ranch-wagon, and had the biggest, blondest, hair I’ve ever seen. I’d never met her before, but it seemed clear we were related. Of all the familiar strangers I met that day, she was by far the most interesting. Eventually I had to kick her and her daughter out of my mom’s house, but to show there were no hard feelings, I helped her load a floor lamp into the back of her El Cameno -which was three times bigger on the inside than on the outside- before returning to my vital mission to activate the solar collectors.
More screaming and running.
Eventually we did what we set out to do. Fry cook Dave and a few staff members from the comic shop decided not to return to the now-safe tunnels with us though. Instead they stole our Horizont-class interplanetary troop shuttle, and lit out for the Virgin Islands where it was postulated the monster plague could not reach. Cyborg Mike and I were pretty angry about that, but it was getting dark and we had to get back.
Night seemed to fall in a matter of seconds. We were running through the forest and one moment it was late afternoon and the next, we were plunged into total darkness, lit only by the LED lights on Mike’s arm.
And then the chittering and scuttling sounds began. No one had mentioned giant insects, but I knew giant insects when I heard them. . .
If you’ve ever wondered what comic book artists dream about, that’s a pretty typical example. I don’t have detailed dreams very often, but when I do they tend to wake me up at 5am, in a cold sweat. But at least I got the blog written before I even have to wake the Widget up for school.
Two more pages at Robo 2.5 will be done. I’m pretty stoked about that.
Brian sent me a link to this. It certainly brightened my day.
If you’d like to hear a bunch of podcasters turn a 5 minute review into a 45 minute ramble about the inherent awesomeness of Atomic Robo then check out TeslaCorps.
In the continuing conversation about the sate of the comic book industry Kirkman and Bendis got together at the Baltimore ComiCon to “debate”. The discussion began with a friendly round of “Fuck You’s”, and I was pretty sure at that point that it was going to be stupid. I was not disappointed.
The more this goes on the less I find myself really caring. Well, not, not caring exactly. I’ve just realized that everyone in comics is just so different, and without any particular “corporate culture” to pull us all together it’s starting to seem (to me) like there is no real way to organize ourselves.
Frankly, I’m less concerned with having new guys do superhero stuff, popular guys doing their own creator-owned stuff, and aiming Marvel and DC titles at kids, while Image, Dark Horse and others go for the older audience.
What if everyone just concentrated on making good comics, regardless of who they are made by, and regardless of weather or not they are creator, or corporate, owned?
Boy, there’s a concept!
Really, the greatest barrier to change in the comic book industry is not the people who makes comics, but the people who read them. You heard me Fanboy. I want to strangle people when I her them talk about dropping $50 or $100 a month just to keep up with titles they know are not very good. And then these same schlubs turn around and say they won’t spend money on trying new books because they already spend too much. Why not drop a few of those titles you don’t even like anymore? You might just find something new that is much better. in fact, I guarantee you will!
I’m not even thinking of Atomic Robo when I say this. Well, I am, but not specifically. When Brian and I first started testing the waters of the comic book industry, at the front of my mind was a single thought -comics basically suck. I’d found a few gems over the years, but by and large most of what I saw was laughably crapulous. It’s an interesting mental place to be -loving a medium, but hating what it produces.
However, in the past three years, after forcing myself to seriously hunt out the books that were really worth my hard earned money and I was surprised -nay, shocked! -to find a whole slew of really first rate books out there that actually raised the status of the lowly comic book in my eyes. Tom Strong, Invincible, Scarlet Traces, Hector Plasm, and anything by Doug TenNapel, just to name some off the top of my head. After reading stuff like this I’ll be one of the first to tell you that comics should be taken seriously, and treated with more respect.
The problem is that these finely crafted books -these works of art- are lost in the static haze of shitty, open-ended monthly rags that choke the shelves of every comic book shop. And that funny book dross is all the non-comic-reading public knows.
So seriously people, if you want to see change, trying raising the bar on your personal standards. Put your money where your mouth is and I think you’ll actually see the change we all claim to want to see.
The really wild thing about this for me, is that books that I want to enjoy, but don’t, would then be forced to stop sucking. Spider Man would stop being a character that I enjoy in concept, and become a book (or books) that I gladly pay money to read each month.