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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: August 1 – 8, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

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The best comic I read last week was Batman #28

Writers: Tom King

Artists: Michael Janin

Michael Janin is back.

Tom King is still writing.

The War of Jokes and Riddles continues.

Batman is one hell of a ride.

Here is the thing: King’s story is just fascinating. The manner in which he is playing his cards – for the very long game – is masterful. He continues to put Batman, a character with an over 75-year publishing history, into situations which are new, unexpected and breathtaking. That accomplishment, in-and-of-itself, is worth the top spot every other week.

What makes Janin’s art such a perfect compliment to King’s writing is how the artist tends toward the realistic. King’s writing, as gonzo as it is, is somehow, someway, rooted in realism. I am not sure of the writer’s process, but it seems as though he asks “what would happen to Batman if…” and then drafts the answers.

Powerful answers.

The focus here in on Jim Gordon and the role he will play in the Joker/Riddler war. Spoiler alert: it is going to be a painful one.

But not as painful as it will be for Batman himself.

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Uncategorized

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 19 – July 25, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

OneTwo

The best comic I read last week was Batman #27

Writers: Tom King

Artists: Clay Mann

There was an amazing run (pun intended) of issues of the The Flash wherein writer Geoff Johns re-told stories of the Flash’s Rogues Gallery to make the villains seem less cartoonish and more, well, villain-like. These were effective and provocative stories – instant classics.

Batman #27 not only reminded me of those stories, it exceeded them in at least two ways: first, it took place in the overall telling of a remarkable arc (“The War of Jokes and Riddles”) and, second, it took one of the most ridiculous villains of ALL TIME – Kite Man – and made him something… more. Something dangerous. Something sad. Something… wrong.

Well done, Tom King. Each month you surprise and delight. I cannot wait for your Mister Miracle title and I will follow you to any book you are on.

King is so good that his work here overcomes the loss of his key artist. Clay Mann fills in for Michael Janin and, while Mann’s work is competent if not inspiring, it is simply not at the same standard as Janin (or rotating artist David Finch for that matter).

But even a sub-par effort on the art cannot detract from what is another special issue in what is a spectacular run.

Tom King should write all the comics.

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Link’n’Blogs – 6.9.17 – Greatest Romantic Movies


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

It’s my anniversary today so I thought it would be appropriate to feature a list I came across on Entertainment Weekly’s website last year: The Greatest Tearjerker Romantic Movies. There are some terrific (and terrifically sad!) movies here. Hard to argue with the list. Click the photo!

Ghost

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: April 12 – 18, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

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The best comic I read last week was

Wonder Woman #20.

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: Bilquis Evely

 

Great sadness this week: writer Greg Rucka is leaving Wonder Woman in a few issues. That is certainly unfortunate as, as I have mentioned on more than one occasion in this The Best Sequential Art feature, Rucka is doing truly great things on this title. His grasp of Diana both in and out of her super hero costume is truly, well, wonderful. The narrative he has tied together in these first 20 issues comparing Wonder Woman’s early adventures to her contemporary ones has been seamless, thematically compelling and strong. Wonder Woman, in her 75th anniversary year, deserved greatness. In Rucka, she has received it.

Bilquis Evely will also be leaving the title and, while I am not familiar with her replacement, it is difficult to think that her successor can achieve anything like she has. I have compared her work to Dave Gibbons’ art in the past and that is intended to be one of the highest comparisons I can draw. Her lines are smooth, her action sequences direct and to-the-point and her character work stunning. She is the kind of artist to follow from book-to-book.

Wonder Woman has been terrific. I am excited to see where Rucka ends these narratives and so sad to see him go.

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Filed under Action Comics, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Uncategorized, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

Link’n’Blogs – 4.14.17 – Good Friday


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Good Friday and Holy Saturday (and all of Lent, actually) lead to one place: Easter Sunday and, even today on Good Friday, we are a resurrection people. Hey, even Times Square gets it! Take a look at the videos and praise God.

 

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Kong: Skull Island – A Movie Review


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Kong-Skull-Island-poster-fullIs Kong: Skull Island a work of high art, deserving of award nominations and lavish praise? No. It is a hell of a fun movie that is more thoughtful than one might be expecting? Yes. Definitely.

This movie is a companion to the 2014 Godzilla directed by Gareth Edwards (ever heard of him? He directed a little thing called Rogue One). There are giant monsters which originate from Skull Island. Humanity would be well served to leave the place alone.

Of course, we will not do that.

Smartly, the movie opens with an exciting action scene that introduces the audience to Kong right away. Hiding the big gorilla from the audience is not the point. Wowing the audience with stunning visuals is. The movie’s prologue does just that: it wows us. The prologue will play into the overall plot of the film later on, so pay attention.

Pay attention, too, to the opening credits. This is a terrific sequence and sets up this alternate world in which monsters walk. Eagle-eyed audience members will pick up a thing or two about the upcoming movie if the watch closely enough.

John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson are introduced as Bill Randa and General Preston Packard respectively. Both actors are at the top of their games here and both know that that game is: play the type, sell the monkey. Randa is a conspiracy theorist (with a hidden agenda) looking to prove the existence of the creature. Packard is a dedicated military man in search of one last mission to validate his service to the country. Yeah, the do not get along but, man, are they fun to watch.

John C. Reilly is in great John C. Reilly fashion as Marlow, a man who has been marooned on Skull Island for a long, long time. He interjects just the right amount of comic relief when comic relief is needed.

Along from the ride is the excellent Brie Larson as Mason Weaver, a Life Magazine photographer. She is an antiwar protester, an accomplished journalist and key to what happens when monkey meets humanity. Have you seen a King Kong movie? Then you likely know what is coming.

Also joining the fun (I think that is the fifth time I have used that word in this review) is the always enjoyable Tom Hiddleston. Hiddleston plays an ex-British Intelligence officer named James Conrad who is something of a solider for hire and expert tracker. Oh, and he gets one absolutely bonkers, over-the-top action sequence.

In fact, the proceedings are entirely bonkers. There are some jaw-dropping effects and some pretty grisly deaths. There is a very nice plot twist in terms of the Kong character and the creature itself is utterly believable. He is actually pretty incredible. There is even an after credits sequence, so stay in your seats until the end.

What is surprising about Kong: Skull Island is that there is a little thematic depth. There are some themes – light themes, to be sure, but themes nonetheless – that play out through the movie. Also worth noting is the film’s treatment of women. They are treated very well here.

Additionally, the movie fashions itself as something of an homage to The Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now and damn if it doesn’t kind of work. Note the “Marlow” and “James Conrad” names we have here.

Kong: Skull Island is an enjoyable romp. It actually has some points to make and it has a lot of fun making them.

KONG: SKULL ISLAND receives FOUR SKULL CRAWLERS out of a possible FIVE.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: March 15 – 21, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

 

The best comic I read last week was Batman #19.

TwoOne

ThreeWriter: Tom King

Artist: David Finch

If you like your stories of the “slow play” variety, and I do, you’ll love Tom King’s Batman.

You will absolutely love it.

King has all but perfected this drawn out storytelling and is using it to full effect in this latest epic “I Am Bane.” Everyone knows the Joker is Batman’s arch-nemesis (except maybe the LEGO Batman). It would be difficult to deny that Bane is almost as significant. The man who broke Batman’s back has returned, blaming the Dark Knight for the vendetta upon which Bane has embarked, and he seems more deadly than ever.

In a very clever twist, King pits Bane against Batman’s Rogues Gallery in a very neat reversal of what Bane did to Batman in their first ever confrontation. The result is a very entertaining and creative read.

The artwork by David Finch and Danny Miki, Trevor Scott and Sandra Hope more than compliments the writing. It completes it. Finch’s pencils have been hit-and-miss for me since he became the “main” Batman artist but this issue is all hit. He’s choreographed some spectacular fight scenes and illustrates Batman’s villains with the horrible edges they all deserve.

I cannot tell where one inker stops and the other starts, and that’s a good thing. The issue is crisp and tight and brilliantly colored by Jordie Bellaire. Truly the art and the story are worthy of one another.

Looking forward to the next Batman movie appearance? Don’t wait. Start reading DC’s Batman comic while it’s this good!

 

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Uncategorized, Weekly Comic Book Review