Author: Van Jensen

The Funniest ‘Dark Knight’ Review You’ll Read

This is probably the tardiest and possibly the funniest review of The Dark Knight you’ll see, as TV writer Ken Levine writes on his blog about how much it must suck to live in Gotham City.

Jesus! You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting six mob bosses. And then there’s the town’s super psycho villain – they couldn’t find someone a little more aesthetically pleasing? Children watch those televised truck chases too, y’know. And Juneau appears to have more daytime in the winter than Gotham City. Does it get dark everyday at noon?

Quick aside: Wouldn’t you love to see AMERICAN IDOL open auditions in Gotham City? Paula would be mistaken for the Joker.

I used to think the Joker was a brilliant mastermind until I realized a number of his fiendish plots were a direct lift from SAW.

DARK KNIGHT was a fun ride and Heath Ledger steals the movie (and everything else). But is it just me? I’m reaching the superhero saturation point. I’ve sympathized enough with tortured reluctant caped crusaders. And these movies all seem to turn on the heroes’ inability to kill the mass murderer psychopath villain because of some “code”. That doesn’t seem real. Oh… wait. We’re talking about guys who wear spandex suits and can fly – strike that last objection.

That’s all good and fun, but then there’s the following, which is a worrisome note about superhero movies wearing out their welcome.

DARK KNIGHT is worth seeing but please Hollywood, no more comic books. The only character left is Bazooka Joe.

It’s just one opinion (well, that and some commenters), but it’s worth considering that these projects are hitting a saturation point and the average (non comics fan) viewer is getting tired of it.

Man Finds Will Eisner Printing Plates

Man Finds Will Eisner Printing Plates

Here’s a story that might be more suited to PBS’s Antiques Roadshow than a comics audience, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.

A man in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey picked up some old printing plates and then, years later, he checked them out and found some were of little-known Will Eisner cartoons.

This article in the South Jersey Courier-Journal retells the story.

In his studio, Getsinger stood by thin, metal comic strip printing plates stacked neatly in hundreds of rows. The collection’s value is unknown, but Getsinger believes the entire collection is worth more than $1 million with printing and publishing possibilities.

Getsinger has two almost-complete collections of Will Eisner’s first published comic strips, "Harry Karry" and "Uncle Otto."

"I found these "Harry Karry’ plates by a "Willis B. Rensie,’ which is Eisner spelled backward," Getsinger said. "I did some research and also learned that these "Life in the Roar’ comics by "Kane’ were early comics of "Batman’ creator Bob Kane.

"It’s like discovering the Holy Grail."

Getsinger has more than 80 plates of Kane and 85 plates of comic book legend and "The Spirit" creator Eisner, who died in 2005.

Disney Adapts ‘Monster Attack Network’

When a graphic novel is billed as a cross between Men in Black and Jurassic Park, it’s no surprise to see a studio come running, dollar signs in their eyes.

Such is Disney with Monster Attack Network, according to a story in the Hollywood Reporter.

The book is published by AIT/Planet Lar and originally came out in 2007.

The adventure tale, written by Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman with art by Nima Sorat, is set on the picture-perfect Pacific island of Lapuatu, which is populated by giant monsters. There, a team of adventurers deal with rampages and related crises and clean up messes afterwards. The team faces its biggest challenge when a shady industrialist shows up.

Jeffrey Brown Does ‘Warhammer’ Benefit

Earlier this year, retailer David Pirkola was seriously injured during a robbery of his comic shop in Kentwood, Mich. He’s still recovering, and now Boom! Studios and Jeffrey Brown are launching a benefit auction.

Brown is a customer and friend of Pirkola, and he partnered with Boom and to do a tribute page of the Warhammer 40,000 comic, which you can see at right.

The auction is now running, and you can find it right here.

Brown is best known for his book The Incredible Change-Bots. Here’s his thoughts from a press release:

"I became a father a year and a half ago, so it’s been a while since I’ve had the time to field my Ultramarines force or let my epic scale ork gargants rampage across the battlefield," said Brown. "I keep up with the comics, novels, and White Dwarf magazine, but spend more time playing with buses and trucks now. It was a great experience to work on this page and get back to the game that I love, and it was even better knowing I could help David by doing it."

Alison Bechdel on ‘State by State’

Alison Bechdel, who’s probably best known for her memoir Fun Home, has an essay and art in the upcoming State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America.

She has a note about the project on her blog, and then there’s a new review of it in Publishers Weekly.

From the (pretty brief) review:

Alison Bechdel’s illustrated story about her life after moving to Vermont brilliantly combines personal history with historical fact, as does Charles Bock’s essay on growing up and working in his parent’s Las Vegas pawnshop.

Alex Robinson and Poker at Comic-Con

Alex Robinson, creator of the new Too Cool and Box Office Poison, writes on his blog about Comic-Con, though it has pretty much nothing to do with comics or movies. (And haven’t we all had enough of that anyway?)

Instead, the subject is cards:

One proud note: on Saturday night, my wife and I played in this poker tournement at the show. There were about fifty-five players and I didn’t fare so hot, going out about number fifty or so (excuses: I was very tired after the show and prefer to play in cash-games anyway). The awesome news is that Kristen managed to hold on, and wound up finishing third. She got to take home a trophy and a wad of cash! Maybe it’s time to quit this comics racket and live off of my lovely bride’s gambling wages…

Just to boost Alex’s ego a little, he was kicking the crap out of me in a game of Scrabulous before it was shut down last week.

Review: ‘Meathaus: SOS’

I was talking to cartoonist Jim Rugg recently about comics anthologies, and he said his thought as a reader is that each collection should have one great story, and then anything else good is just gravy.

In the case of the latest volume of Meathaus, SOS (Nerdcore, $30), Rugg’s Afrodisiac story is the gravy. His old-school, dot-matrix-styled, blaxploitation character has a predictably badass encounter with vampires.

The one great story in SOS, then, is the volume’s first entry, a longish bizarro riff on [[[Zelda]]] (I think) from Farel Dalrymple. It’s a story of two brothers who stumble into a mysterious cave and are attacked by an evil elf wearing a fedora and trench coat.

Dalrymple’s art is as energetic as ever, and the story is a strangely edited puzzler that’s worth multiple reads.

There’s plenty more gravy in the 272 pages. Most notably Dash Shaw’s melding of science fiction and nude modeling for art classes. I don’t think any more needs to be said.


Duane Swierczynski Interviews Ed Brubaker

Talk about impossible to pass up: Here’s an interview between two pretty brilliant crime writers, Ed Brubaker and Duane Swierczynski.

It originally ran in Crimespree magazine, issue 22. Here’s a sample:

DS: Since Scene of the Crime, many of your regular series have been infused with this great crime/noir vibe—Sleeper was pure noir, Gotham Central was hardcore police procedural, and so on. Is “crime” the lens through which you view much of life?

EB: Yeah, and espionage, a bit. My dad and his brother (who I’m named after) were both in the intel field. My uncle was a big mucky-muck in the CIA and my dad was in Naval Intelligence. Not that either of them were ever forthcoming with details about what they did, but it probably accounts for my interest in that genre. And when I was a teenager, I was kind of a thief and a drug-addict. I did a lot of things I’m not proud of, and lived in a really ugly world of speed-freaks and scumbags for a few years. Nearly going to prison straightened me out, though. Scared the shit out of me at 18, basically. But you never forget sitting in the felony tank with 50 other guys fighting over sandwiches.

So, when I started writing stories for other people to draw, I just always thought of crime stories. Just before my first paying work, in 1991, I had read a lot of the Jim Thompson reissues from Black Lizard and had been on a real true crime binge, so that probably played into it a lot. But I think on some level, I identify with criminals, even though now that I’m older and a home-owner, I hate them. I never liked any of the ones I knew, really, it was just the life I fell into. I like the ones I make up, but they’re much more romantic than the criminals in real life

Paris Hilton and Stan Lee Creating Comic Spoof

MTV’s new Splash Page comics blog has some bizarre news about a partnership between Stan Lee and Paris Hilton. Let that sink in for a second or two.

Apparently the oddest dynamic duo are working together on an animated superhero spoof show for MTV. Details:

“We’re developing that right now and just going over scripts and drawing my character,” Hilton told us. “I fight crime.”

The infamous party girl will soon be seen in the upcoming twisted musical “Repo! The Genetic Opera” where she lampoons beauty-obsessed celebritities as a plastic surgery-addicted brat, and Hilton proclaimed her next target will be the capes-and-cowls crowd.

“It’s not like your typical superhero,” she promised of her Lee-created character. “It’s me basically as a superhero, so kind of using makeup and compacts as weapons. It’s kind of like a spoof on a superhero.”

Comic Book Movies Hit $1 Billion

Comic book movies have finally been unseated from the top of the box office mountain, as the latest Mummy movie displaced The Dark Knight.

But there’s still no debating this being the summer of the superhero, as comic book movies hit one HUH-YUGE milestone: $1 billion in ticket sales, according to

That includes Chris Nolan’s Batman sequel (which is up to $363 million), Hellboy 2, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Am I forgetting any?

Dark Knight was also the fastest movie to hit $350 million in sales, doing so in a scant 14 days. That’s nine days faster than the previous best, set by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

UPDATE — More official numbers now indicate Dark Knight is No. 1 again at the Box Office, pulling in $43.8 million to $42.5 for the Mummy. It’s also poised to hit $400 million by early this week, now only $5.1 million short of that marker.