Disney makes a stand: Han shot first! #Marvel #StarWars

Could it be that Disney and Marvel are looking to address the controversy over whether or not Han shot first? Issue 3 of the ongoing Star Wars comic book includes the following exchange:


Is this the biased opinion of a character who both hates Solo and wasn't there? Is it a nice nod to fans who weren't happy with the continuity change? Let us know what you think in the comments. 

Wynter #1: Review

Science fiction is a powerful tool that can be used to take real world events and themes and extrapolate them into occasionally far fetched worlds and settings. Star Trek took the political themes of the day and made scary alien threats from them, Marvel took the civil rights movement and gave us the X-men. Wynter, from the new and upcoming publisher New World Comics, takes the online world of today and mixes in a little teenage angst for good measure.


For those of us old enough to remember when the internet was new, the constantly connected world of today is something of a contrast to the way things used to be. Arguments over whether that actor or another was in a film used to inspire debates and conversations on the subject where now it’s a quick visit to IMDB on someone’s smartphone and the facts are laid out. Before a deep thought or fantastic idea could inspire your thought processes and encourage you further where now, however, a quick google search is all it takes to remind you that thousands of other people have had that exact same thought, idea, concept and you’re not the unique snowflake you thought you were. I daren’t imagine what it must be like to be a young person growing up in this always-online world… but what about further down the line? What about when there aren’t just billions of humans but billions of billions. Enough so that every possible viable permeation of human DNA has been born into hundreds of thousands of times before or after your birth. Where all these people are so interconnected that every thought and action is logged and statistically analysed. There are no original thoughts left to have and it’s all on record for you to see how special you’re not.


That’s the world of Liz Winter, and like everyone else she is no one special. The first few pages of this opening issue are devoted to telling the reader exactly why she’s no one special. Every thought she has gets a running narration on how many times it’s been had before, and how even her responses have been experienced and felt before. It’s Twitter if Twitter had an evil Mr Clippy pop up on screen and say, “I see you’re trying to tweet about the existential angst of teenage life, 12 million people have expressed the same thought in the last month, would you like to see their tweets?” If that all seems a little dark then that’s because it is, but fortunately a snappy pace and decent writing helps keep things from slipping too far into darkness. It’s a sardonic sense of humour that fits the character and story well.


If the dialogue is perfectly paced then the same can’t really be said about the issue as a whole. A lot of time is spent telling us about her perspective on the universe and then things go to hell remarkably quickly. “Everything’s a Haze” remarks Liz and she could be speaking for the audience. Fortunately the last two pages pick things back up and leave the reader ready and eager to go on.


In addition to the remarkably high calibre of writing, the artwork is really good too, and not just good for an indie title. It’s a painted art style which, while it may not suit the tastes of many comic book readers, does render the universe of Wynter in interesting and sometimes abstract brushstrokes. It’s not all perfect, though. It seems that whatever future we find ourselves in, teenage rebels will shave half their head and use it as a canvas for geometric tattoos, for example - it’s fine just painfully generic. Then there are the borderline likeness-infringing examples of reference models that place Judge Judy in the role of an actual future-judge and, so it would seem, David Tennant as a pharmaceutical salesman. Small touches that can potentially pull the reader out of an otherwise excellently realised world.


While not without its flaws, Wynter is an engaging and enjoyable read that gets a well deserved score of four ear-rings in one ear. If you want to read it for yourself you can do so for free by following New World Comics on twitter to find out how to get the first issue emailed to you, and issues two and three can be found on Comixology.

Comix-up - I haven't forgotten about reviews!

It's been a while since I've updated my blog with a review or, well, anything really. More will be incoming, along with a more fixed schedule. Until then here's one of my random doodlings that came to mind when I was trying NOT to get completely wasted at the day-job's christmas party.

Just remember, getting completely wasted and punching the boss is something that should always happen to someone else!

Star Trek: Khan: Review

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Published by: IDW

Released: October 16th 2013

Why do Klingons go from smooth foreheads to bumpy foreheads? Why did Han Solo use the parsec as a unit of time? Why didn't the eagles simply fly the ring to Mount Doom?

Why does the Into Darkness Khan look nothing Ricardo Montalban?

Being a genre fan can be hard sometimes. Creators are only human, after all, and sometimes inconsistencies and mistakes can be introduced which simply don't have a logical explanation.. Occasionally the answers are provided through official canonical explanations such as the genetically engineered Klingons in season four of Enterprise, more frequently the fans take it upon themselves to create their own solutions through fan fiction and forum discussions (tv.tropes has a wonderful page dedicated to just this). And then there are the times where answers are offered through officially licensed but not-entirely cannon spinoffs. Star Trek: Khan falls into the latter category. Although it doesn't seem like this to begin with. To begin with, we have a legal trial.

“My name is Khan and I reject the authority of this court.”

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Interesting opening, it's just a shame that in the next couple of panels the federation's top lawyer defers to Captain Kirk for the opening argument. And what does he do? He basically uses the opportunity to say ask why Khan doesn't look like an older gentleman with skin like rich Corinthian leather.

Khan answers and we quickly realise that the legal trial is a poorly implemented setup for a flashback to the 1970s and a young Noonian Singh.

The rest of the issue takes place in flashbacks and something tells me that the rest of the series will likely follow the same pattern of court trial introduction to justify licensing the actors' likenesses before jumping back into Khan's backstory. The problem with using Khan himself is the narrator is that he starts off from a perspective that he couldn't have been present for. That's not the only continuity flaw either since the entire concept of eugenics seems to get dismissed on page in favour of genetic manipulation. Given that this takes place before the time travel that caused Abram's Star Trek universe to break off from the older timelines it's an odd choice to change such a fundamental part of established history. Since this is part of a miniseries it's hard to say now whether this is going to be part of a larger storyline but I'd be disappointed if it was allowed to slip without further mention.

The writing is a mixed bag; before the flashbacks begin it feels forced and improbable with the characters feeling like they're just shoehorned into a situation to service a plot device. Once we make the jump, however, things improve greatly. Things move along quickly and while every single plot point is telegraphed pages ahead it is interesting enough to want to see how the rest of the tale unfolds.

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The art throughout is generally good but it just feels rushed. For the most part there are no backgrounds behind characters making everything feel flat, and there are never fewer than five panels on a page which not only makes the pacing seem hurried, but doesn't allow the artist any opportunity to wow the reader with a dramatic moment.

So it's not perfect and it falls prey to many of the problems that face licensed comics... but it's not bad either. Sure the setup is preposterous but if you can overlook that then you can start on an interesting journey that will hopefully give a little more depth to the Abram-verse interpretation of an iconic villain. Of course, if we could overlook things like that we wouldn't need to have continuity-wank in the first place. Three warp core breaches which may be retconned to four if they can fix the apparent plot holes.


RUIN: A Kickstarter recommendation (Updated)

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I never know quite what to make of Kickstarter, especially when it comes to artistic projects such as comic books. I always worry that it enables those creative types who want the reward before the effort and those are the ones that seem to fall through. On the other hand, it’s also an amazing way for people to support projects that might otherwise never see the light of day. I think the latter is true of RUIN.


RUIN is described by the creators as, “…a Sci-Fi post-apocalyptic graphic novel (think Mad Max meets Alien) in which a nomadic survivalist attempts to make ends meet in a future dystopia.” It’s a description so painfully generic that it almost had me ignoring it before moving on to something else, but then I saw a page from the comic where a character is talking to his three legged dog. A dog who communicates through puzzles. I’m not entirely sure how a pictographic representation of a tire is verbalised in this world, but it was a nice touch that captured my interest. The thirsty companion had me at HIJKLMNO.

 So there is one unique element but it’s not enough to save the book from genre mediocrity… but it was enough to keep me reading the kickstarter page and there is a lot here to like. The artwork on display is richly detailed and sells the setting of a grimy post-apocalyptic world incredibly well. The character designs are interesting and it’s nice that females don’t fall back on certain disproportionate physical attributes like so many other indie comics. Unless, of course, the thought of a character that’s “…is controlled by the sinister mutant fetus that resides in her makeshift plexiglas womb” turns you on and if that’s the case then this may just be the comic for you!

The behind the scenes story of this book is almost as interesting as the one found on the pages; creators Ricky Lanier (Writer and Letterer) and Ruben Rojas (artist/colourist) are separated by language and an ocean since one is in America and the other in Spain. Apparently the two haven’t even spoken on the phone, let alone face-to-face.

So the comic is generic but shows a lot of promise, the creators are talented and amiable, what about the kick-starter campaign?

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Well they’ve set a nicely realistic goal of $5,000 and as of writing this they’re half way to meeting that goal with 37 days to go. The rewards for backing are a little on the pricey side but it’s good that they've erred on the side of realistic deliverables. This is very much one of those projects where you have to factor in the pleasure you get from backing something you feel enthusiastic about and in this case, I think that carries a nice dollar value all of its own. The only thing I didn't like, though is the fact that postage outside the US asks for $15-25 extra… in one case this is actually more than the reward. Again this is them being safe and not over-stretching their funds, but it does make the non US backer a little more hesitant to commit. Digital-only rewards at the higher tiers might have helped a lot with this.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m really interested in this projected and would love for it to get funded. I fully encourage people to go out and help make this a reality so head to the link below and take a look. At the very least we can get them a pair of Skype headsets!


The kickstarter has now been updated to include digital only rewards to address the concerns of us international backers. It's a $30 level which may seem a little steep until you see what's included:

"You'll receive, a new avatar of yourself by Ruben, sketch of Sasha with personal greeting. Exclusive advance reading of chapter one from the fiction novel adaptation of RUIN. 4602 map of the Outer-Terra wallpaper (only available here). We will scan and personalize a Sketch Card for you! PDF of character Bios and script issue #1. Sketches, weapons, vehicles NEVER POSTED before. Our new logo, wallpapers, and cell phone wallpapers! You'll also receive issues of RUIN and Wicker #1, PDF and DRM free AND the mini-comic, if we can scan it... you get it! Conveniently sent to your inbox."

That's simply fantastic value especially if you want to back the project without most of your money going towards postage.