El Santo's blog
Submitted by El Santo on February 6, 2009 - 01:50
It seems like every so often, someone gets the brilliant idea that the Ancient Rome is going to be the biggest thing in genre fiction. Sometimes, they’re right. Gladiator was a hit in theaters and ended up grabbing a bucket load of awards at Oscar time (even though I remember commercials that were aired during WWE television that heavily promoted Gladiator as a boffo action movie that fans of The Rock would enjoy). HBO’s Rome was highly acclaimed, winning 7 Emmys in all.
To me, though, these two are rather isolated cases. I don’t think the entertainment industry ever fully succeeded in turning America into Rome-osexuals. Compare Wikipedia entries for “Fiction set in Ancient Rome” (which spans at least a millennium if we don’t count the Byzantine Empire) vs. “King Arthur in various media,” and you come to the realization that potentially fictional English kings outclass the civilization that gave us the origins of modern language, a Senate, and the aqueduct.
Incidentally, the most surprising find of this quick look? There are at least 11 entries for Roman detective fiction. To me, that’s a fairly curious concept. I personally imagine Humphrey Bogart, in a flowing toga and beaten fedora covering the steel in his eyes, turning the corner of the Temple of Venus and lighting his cigarette in the moonlight while tailing a perp who just murdered one of the temple virgins (by stabbing her in the back with a dagger, naturally). It’s like oil and water, two concepts that shouldn’t go together. Yet 11 different authors thought that this was a good idea?
While our review today is more of a soap opera drama set in Roman times, it does contain elements of crime fiction. Its protagonist, after all, is a bodyguard with a mysterious past who’s hired to protect a pretty dame from some folks who want to do her wrong. The name of the comic is SPQR Blues. It’s written and drawn by Carol Burrell, a dame people call “Klio.” If knowledge about ancient history could kill, she’s got a Pompeii gladius aimed right at your heart.
Submitted by El Santo on February 3, 2009 - 15:05
Small news, really.
You can now get to this site through â€œWebcomicoverlook.comâ€. This site is now far less to type!
Submitted by El Santo on February 2, 2009 - 20:05
Submitted by El Santo on February 2, 2009 - 00:00
I recently did a post on a comic whose title was, shall we say, off-putting. That got me to wondering: what ARE the most awesomely bad webcomic titles of all time?
Submitted by El Santo on January 30, 2009 - 14:20
From the desk of El Santo, a.k.a. Captain Nihilist:
Submitted by El Santo on January 28, 2009 - 13:39
Brian Clevinger, of 8-Bit Theater (reviewed here) and the Eisner-nominated miniseries Atomic Robo, recently posted his opinions on the changes in Diamond’s shipping policy (Diamond Comics Distributors being the largest comic distributor in North America):
If you follow print comics at all, then you probably already know about Diamond’s Big News. The short version is that they’re increasing the minimum amount a title must earn in order for Diamond to continue carrying it. This makes good economic sense for Diamond, but it’s unquestionably going to destroy independent comics publishing as we know it. The first third of this article goes into a little more depth on the issue, but basically when the monopolistic distribution system makes it mathematically impossible for the majority of independent publishers (and all yet-to-be-founded independent publishers) to be distributed, that’s it. Game over.
Let me put it plainly. The basic model of getting new independent comics into shops is dead.
Oh, it’ll do fine for Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, IDW, and maybe one or two others. But everyone else? Everyone out there working on a new project for publication right now? The old model no longer applies.
What’s the solution for independent publishers, then?
Submitted by El Santo on January 25, 2009 - 16:00
What if superheroes, created by analogues of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, were real and based on actual people with powers? What if they were hidden away in a sleepy town since the 1950’s? And if there are superheroes, are there supervillains?
Action, Ohio, written by Neil Kleid and illustrated by Paul Salvi, was originally one of the hopeful competitors trying to win a contract with Zuda Comics. The comic follows heroine Andi Bruce, a Detroit detective with a sad past, who is compelled to solve a brutal murder. Her investigation gradually leads her to learn about the existence of superheroes in a town on the Michigan-Ohio border. Eventually, she must decide between solving her case or protecting the heroes’ freedoms by keeping things quiet.
I first encountered Action, Ohio, when Jack, Anthony, The Doctor, Delos, and I did a round of reviews at Comic Fencing. I heard about the comic again when Neil sent out a press release that the comic had moved to Shadowline, an Image Comics affiliate that begun publishing webcomics in October 2008. I did some quick research, and it quickly dawned on me that Neil Kleid was prolific. Winner of a Xeric Award (for Ninety Candles), writer for several print comics published by NBM to Slave Labor to Image, art director for Comedy Central and Miramax campaigns, creator of several webcomics…. Good God, y’all.
A large sample of his work can be found at his Rant Comics site.
I contacted Neil if he’d like to do an e-mail interview, and he graciously accepted. Neil had already conducted two excellent interviews with Newsrama and io9. I wanted to touch on subjects that hadn’t yet been covered at the other sites: what it was like working for Zuda and Shadowline, what common themes were within his body of work, and … why Ohio?
Submitted by El Santo on January 22, 2009 - 17:20
When you assemble a list of the worst names for musical artists, names like Bubba Sparxxx and the Goo Goo Dolls rise to the forefront. Bad names, both, but I think Iâ€™ve got one better. Itâ€™s hard to have a worst name than the hip-hop group that goes by the rather colorful name of Cunninlynguists.
Submitted by El Santo on January 21, 2009 - 12:46
- Today, Iâ€™m still celebrating the glorious aftermath of another peaceful transition. A glorious day where even those who tolerate how things were done in the previous years greet the new day with a tentative optimism and a full measure of devotion. Time will tell if it will be a success or a dud, but one thing is for certain: nothing will be the same again.
I am talking, of course, about the change from Starslip Crisis to just Starslip.
Submitted by El Santo on January 20, 2009 - 04:00
Happy Inauguration Day!
And donâ€™t forget to check out Dan Goldmanâ€™s webcomic predicting Barack Obamaâ€™s bold presidential vision for the year 2012 over at sci-fi site Tor.com.