Vids I Dig 069: Cartoonist Kayfabe: Image Comics ‘Grand Design’, The Pitch Proposal

The Cartoonist Kayfabe guys (Ed Piskor & Jim Rugg) discuss what the Grand Design treatment could look like for the original Image Comics titles.

Documentary Review: So Much Damage: How Image Comics Changed the World (2017)

Original Run: November 20th, 2017
Directed by: Jon Erwin
Written by: Michael Avila
Music by: Paul Terry

Syfy, 5 Episodes, 15 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

This is the second documentary I have seen on Image Comics but this isn’t just a rehash of what was already covered in the slightly superior The Image Revolution.

This one was broken out into five 15 minute web episodes and put out by Syfy, who used to be the much cooler Sci-Fi Channel before they changed their channel’s spelling into something stupid.

Anyway, like The Image Revolution this documentary interviews all the key players and gets their stories. But what I like most about this is how it spends a good deal of time talking more about modern Image Comics and not just the revolution of 1991. As cool as that revolt was, modern Image has grown into something that I don’t feel any of the founding members could have fathomed back then.

It’s always fun to hear these guys talk about themselves, their experiences and the creation of Image, as it was a really exciting thing for me to experience as a fan in 1991. It was and still is the coolest thing that happened in the comic book industry in my lifetime.

So this certainly stirs up nostalgia but that doesn’t mean that this survives on that alone. It’s informative, has a good pace and is well organized and presented.

Younger comic book fans today will probably find some value in this, even though it’s made to attract the older fans who remember all of this like it was yesterday.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: The Image Revolution and Chris Claremont’s X-Men.

 

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead (2015- )

Original Run: August 23rd, 2015 – current
Created by: Robert Kirkman, Dave Erickson
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Based on: The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
Music by: Atticus Ross, Paul Haslinger, Danny Bessi, Saunder Jurriaans
Cast: Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Mercedes Mason, Lorenzo James Henrie, Rubén Blades, Colman Domingo, Michelle Ang, Danay García, Daniel Sharman, Sam Underwood, Dayton Callie, Lisandra Tena, Maggie Grace, Garret Dillahunt, Lennie James, Jenna Elfman

Square Head Pictures, Circle of Confusion, Skybound Entertainment, Valhalla Entertainment, AMC, 48 Episodes (so far), 43-65 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

The Walking Dead really didn’t need of a spinoff. But as these things go, when you’ve got a cash cow, you’ve got to milk it until the teets come off.

What made this spinoff intriguing, however, was that it started when the zombie outbreak started. In The Walking Dead, we follow Rick Grimes, as he wakes up from a coma and enters a zombie infested world, months after the outbreak. Fear the Walking Dead starts on any given normal day and then the shit hits the fan. The first season shows society crumbling and how the main characters respond to it.

That rookie season was good but a somewhat unsatisfying origin story for The Walking Dead world. But once the show moved beyond the initial chaos, it got more interesting.

The sophomore season was broken into two halves, like a typical season of The Walking Dead. This show would follow that formula going forward. And while that season was a bit rocky, it found it’s footing in the second half, once our characters got off of the boat they lived on for eight episodes.

Season three switched things up quite a bit and by this point, a lot of the main characters were already wiped out.

But season four, the current season, is where the show really reinvented itself in a bold way. By the time you get through the first half of the season, only one person from the pilot episode is still alive. Additionally, Morgan from The Walking Dead comes on the show, officially crossing over, connecting this show directly to the events of the more popular parent show.

The fourth season also brings in a bunch of new and interesting characters and to be honest, it’s a completely different animal than what Fear was when it started out.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this show, which I have also had with the regular Walking Dead series, but it’s moving in a really cool direction.

It’s hard to tell where this will end up but I find it to be the more enjoyable of the two shows, right now. But being that this is The Walking Dead, that could change at the drop of a hat.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: The Walking DeadDeadwoodSons of Anarchy and Hell On Wheels.

 

TV Review: The Walking Dead (2010- )

Original Run: October 31st, 2010 – current
Created by: Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Based on: The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
Music by: Bear McCreary
Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Michael Rooker, David Morrissey, Melissa McBride, Scott Wilson, Michael Cudlitz, Emily Kinney, Chad L. Coleman, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Robin Lord Taylor, Alexandra Breckenridge, Austin Amelio, Khary Payton, Tom Payne, Katelyn Nacon, Steven Ogg, Pollyanna McIntosh, Corey Hawkins, Audrey Marie Anderson, Denise Crosby, Samantha Morton

Idiot Box Productions, Circle of Confusion, Skybound Entertainment, Valhalla Entertainment, AMC, 115 Episodes (so far), 42-67 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

Do I even need to review The Walking Dead, at this point? Everyone in the world has seen it by now, right? Everyone already has their own opinion of it, yes?

Well, there are a lot of people that quit years ago and it seems like the ratings have been going down the last couple of seasons. Granted, it is still AMC’s biggest show and rakes in higher numbers than nearly anything else on cable but it’s been on for eight friggin’ seasons, which is a whole hell of a lot in this day and age where decent shows get cancelled all the time.

It’s hard to review the show for the fact that it has been on for so long and that it hasn’t been very consistent from season to season. But at least the show mixes it up and tries new things, reinventing itself every 2-3 seasons. The gist of it is really the same but it’s done a decent job of evolving with the timeline in which the show is set.

However, it sort of ignores some of the real world threats that would be happening in a post-apocalyptic United States. Things that a simple comedy like The Last Man On Earth was smart enough to explore. Things like explosions at unattended nuclear power plants, spewing really bad shit into the air.

I have stuck with this show through thick and thin because as cheesy as it sounds, you grow to know these characters as if they were real people and you care about their story, especially if you’ve toughed it out through the good and bad points of the show.

There have been moments during this show’s run that I thought about giving it up but there isn’t much else to do on a Sunday night and their eight episode half seasons are pretty quick to get through. If this show had 23 episodes a year like most programs, I couldn’t stay committed to it. Plus, there was that part of me that was just waiting for the war with Negan to start. That war wasn’t what I had hoped it would be but I was satisfied with how it wrapped up and am interested in what’s to come in the upcoming season, as there are a lot of changes and a time jump happening.

For the most part, The Walking Dead has been a good show. Sometimes it feels as if it has already ran its course but for whatever reason, I can’t seem to walk away from it like some others have. But that could change with Rick, the main character, leaving the show soon.

In the end, The Walking Dead isn’t a show about zombies, it’s a show about exploring human nature and that’s more interesting than the undead.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: Fear the Walking DeadDeadwood and Hell On Wheels.

Documentary Review: The Image Revolution (2014)

Release Date: January 25th, 2014 (Amazing Arizona Comic Con)
Directed by: Patrick Meaney

Respect Films, Sequart, 81 Minutes

Review:

The cool thing about The Image Revolution is that it covers the coolest time in comic book publishing history and, as a fan, I lived through this when it was happening and it was honestly, the coolest thing that my young middle school brain got to experience. I used the word “cool” a lot in that run-on sentence but that’s what the early ’90s were all about: cool.

Image Comics was, by far, the coolest comic book company to ever exist. When seven of Marvel Comics’ top dogs left the company to breakout on their own and go independent, it was like the comic industry’s version of the punk rock revolution.

Here you have Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino and Whilce Portacio: all heavy hitter creators at Marvel, bucking the system and forever changing the game. These guys were superstars within the industry and after their revolution, became rock stars in pop culture.

This documentary covers why these guys felt the need to kiss away their steady careers and stick it to the man. It also follows the formation of Image Comics, the struggles they faced and how even after things seemed to fall apart, these guys all sort of found each other again, despite their young rebellious attitudes, their fallouts and their intense competition with one another. It also shows how each artist formed their own studios, what that meant and how all of this built a solid foundation for new and emerging talents to ply their trade independently. And truthfully, without Image Comics and what these guys did, there probably wouldn’t be The Walking Dead or McFarlane Toys.

This is an exciting documentary for fans of the comic book industry, especially Generation Xers that were savvy to this story, back in the day. It’s really cool seeing these guys, all these years later, reflecting on the details of how this all went down. While comic industry reporting was great back in the early ’90s and my friends and I knew the story, some details were unknown until now.

Rating: 8.75/10

Comic Review: The Walking Dead – Compendium Three

Published on: October 13th, 2015
Written by: Robert Kirkman
Art by: Charlie Adlard

Image Comics, 1088 Pages

Review:

After reading the 2nd compendium of The Walking Dead, I had to jump right into the third one.

With Compendium Three, I have finally reached where they are at in the television show. Negan actually shows up at the beginning of this big book and his entire saga against Rick and his people is covered in this volume.

So I now know what happens further into the future than where the TV show is at. Granted, the show doesn’t always follow the comic book but it does stay pretty close to it and I feel as if the conclusion to the Negan era will be similar.

Compendium Three also goes beyond Negan. At a point, it jumps ahead a couple years and we see how Alexandria has evolved, as have the other communities and how they have created a new civilization. It also goes further into the fate of Negan. The book ends with the introduction of a group called the Whisperers and leaves you hanging, as you realize another war with another threat is most likely on the horizon.

Out of all the Compendiums, this one is my favorite, by far. This was the best era of The Walking Dead. Rick and the group are challenged like never before and everything seems hopeless. However, they find ways to overcome and create something even better.

When people say that the Negan era is a turning point in the series, that is an understatement. The event changes everything and it effects every character on a deep level. We end up seeing this world that we know completely turned on its head, reorganized and reestablished. This point in The Walking Dead series is pretty magnificent, actually. It features some of the best comic book writing I have ever encountered and I’ve been reading comics for at least thirty years.

I wasn’t sure how a comic book about a group traversing through a zombie infected world could last for thirteen years but once you get to this point, it is pretty apparent. The Walking Dead is one of the best comic book series of all-time and this, right here, is The Walking Dead at its absolute best.

I’ll be eagerly anticipating what comes next.

Rating: 9.25/10
Pairs well with: The other Walking Dead collections.

Comic Review: The Walking Dead – Compendium Two

Published on: October 16th, 2012
Written by: Robert Kirkman, Sina Grace
Art by: Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn

Image Comics, 1068 Pages

Review:

I took a big break between reading the first Compendium and this one. These things are huge and are equal to 48 regular sized comic books. That’s a lot of reading and my mind needed a break. Funny though, because after I finished this one, I couldn’t do anything other than jump right into the third volume, which I am reading now and will review when I’m done. So essentially, as good as the first Compendium was, this one was far and away superior.

The plot starts just after the Governor scenario and leads all the way up to the introduction of Negan, who doesn’t physically appear until the beginning of the third Compendium. This era of The Walking Dead is focused on meeting some new people, finding Alexandria and then turning it into a home, where Rick and the gang eventually run the show. It ends with the Saviors appearing and starting trouble for the group.

While this is somewhat of a transitional stretch between the series’ two biggest villains, it delves into the human element more and it sells the idea of the future and civilization rising up once again. The comic book does a much better job of creating a community and then a network of communities than the show has ever done. There is just more room to flesh out the details of what is going on in the world and how each character plays a part in it.

The artwork is consistent and fantastic, the story has improved and it is with this volume that I can truly grasp people’s love and admiration for this comic book series. In fact, it kind of puts a damper on the television show, as it just isn’t up to speed or nearly as bad ass as the comic book is. And sure, you can get away with a lot more in a comic book but the AMC show just doesn’t get this intense. Furthermore, Rick Grimes doesn’t feel like some deity of bad assery, he feels human in the comic books. Sure, he’s a Grade A Bad Ass Motherfucker but he shows his weaknesses and his insecurities and isn’t as one-dimensional of a character as he seems on the show sometimes.

This Compendium covers issues 49 through 96. It is hard to believe that a comic book series that is that deep into its story is still able to build and get better. And from what I’ve read of the third Compendium, thus far, it improves even more.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: The other Walking Dead collections.