Tagged: Holmes

Shatterhand Hits the Trail in 2014

Coming in 2014 from Piccadilly PublishingA Legend Called Shatterhand and Shatterhand and The People by B.J. Holmes, based on the character created by Karl May.

About SHATTERHAND:
Old Shatterhand, the friend and blood-brother of Winnetou, the chief of the Mescalero Apaches, was a fictional character created by German writer Karl May (1842-1912). B.J. Holmes revived him for two epic westerns, A Legend Called Shatterhand and Shatterhand and the People, both of which will be appearing over the coming months under the PP imprint. Real-life historical characters turn up throughout the narratives and Shatterhand’s west has an undeniable ring of authenticity to it.

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Marc Alan Fishman: How the West Wing Cured Me of My Taste for Blood

Gentle readers, I have tried hard to stick to just comics here in my column since I started writing it. It would seem this will be one week I head to the fringe. We all know about the massacre in Aurora, Colorado. It’s gotten plenty of people talking about what to do. Do we tighten up the process to purchase weapons? Do we not allow the sale of automatic weapons of larger size? Do we install security checkpoints at movie theaters? And of course… when the scum is convicted of this heinous crime, should we kill him?

Before I get to the last aforementioned question (which is what I’m really here to discuss), here’s my take on those other sundry queries: We can tighten up the process to purchase weapons all we want. But we’re very adept at hiding lies, and getting our hands on what we need, legal or not. We could ban the larger assault rifles too, but again, if someone wants one bad enough, they’ll get one. And in the case of Aurora, I’m sure the “Joker” in question would have been happy to murder innocent people in cold blood with any ole gun he could get his hands on. And sure, we could install any number of counter-measures and protocols to survey public areas to try to remove ourselves from harm, but don’t complain to me when it takes an additional hour to get into the movies to see the Avengers 5.

On to the matter at hand. When the last booby trap is triggered, the damage accessed, and the trial begun, I’m sure the populace will demand nothing short of a public stoning. And initially, I’d be right there with them. You see, there was a time when I considered myself a conservative. I liked the idea of having a mighty military. I liked the idea that the government should be small, and get out of my way as I build empires from lemonade stands. And most important, I wanted every last evil muthtrucker dead dead dead. I mean, why waste my tax dollars to keep a murderer, rapist, or crack dealer alive? Damnit, that money could be spent on more planes to murder the evil guys on the other side of the world! And then, I went to college, and my friends turned me on to the show The West Wing.

The show (for the first four seasons at least) was a brilliant piece of fiction, depicting a world where the war mongering Bush family didn’t lay waste to a country, and bury our already indebted country further into debt. Instead, it presented one Jed Bartlet, a snobby elitist pinko commie liberal, and his staff of equally leftist yes men. It was pretty brilliant. Aaron Sorkin knows how to sound smart, and to a college freshman who thinks he knows smart, the show sunk in with me pretty deeply.

Over time my views gradually changed. I realized that not everyone is as entitled as others, and no amount of entrepreneurial spirit can necessary negate poverty. I also realized that human life is not ours to take away from one another. No matter how absolutely rotten to the core someone is, they don’t deserve to die. Simply put, for those lost souls in the world, death is a fate too easy.

James E. Holmes is accused of committing an absolute atrocity. There’s little doubt in my mind the families of the victims wants his head on a pike. Rightfully so, mind you. But as I said above: it’s too easy a punishment. I may not wish death on any man, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want suffering. I’d gladly see my tax dollars pay to ensure Holmes is fed the absolute minimum amount of food and water to live, confined to a cell no bigger than a twin bed, with a leaky faucet and broken toilet. I want every day of his life to include a solid hour of larger, angrier inmates given free reign to pummel, poke, prod, and pound Holmes within an inch of his life. I want a team of nurses and doctors to repair him to a state of consciousness, without any pain medication. And then, I want the process to start again the next day. Until Holmes passes away from old age.

I say these things not to be a sadist. I say them because like so many of us, I am angry, confused, and bewildered as to what it takes to lose all shreds of one’s being – such that one could commit an act so flagrant and foul. In one well-plotted outburst, Homes reminded us how fragile life really is. He stole a nation’s ability to enjoy entertainment, if only for a short period.

I am not deeply religious (if at all, honestly), but I am to believe that if this, in fact, is the only go around on this rock that we have, we should all know no pain, no hunger, no fear, no doubt, no sadness more than what comes with the natural order of things. What was committed in Colorado was as far away from natural as could be.

The state of Colorado has not executed someone since 1997. It is in my hopes that Homes will not be given the easy way out for what he did. Instead, may he be left to rot in a cell, forced to eventually accept that he is one of the lowest forms of life on the planet. May he suffer long beyond the families and friends that he hurt.

I end with a pull from “Take This Sabbath Day:”

Toby: The Torah doesn’t prohibit capital punishment.

Rabbi Glassman: No.

Toby: It says, “An eye for an eye.”

Rabbi Glassman: You know what it also says? It says a rebellious child can be brought to the city gates and stoned to death. It says homosexuality is an abomination and punishable by death. It says men can be polygamous and slavery is acceptable. For all I know, that thinking reflected the best wisdom of its time, but it’s just plain wrong by any modern standard. Society has a right to protect itself, but it doesn’t have a right to be vengeful. It has a right to punish, but it doesn’t have a right to kill.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

Mike Gold: Bat-Madness

We don’t want to think we’re all just one brain-vein rupture away from committing murder, but most of us know in our heart of hearts this is so. To avoid that horrible prospect, every time something like the Dark Knight slayings happens we try to pin the blame on … something … somebody.

Attention-hungry quack shrinks who have never met the accused killer in Aurora Colorado let alone examined him or even studied his still-unfolding life history run to the nearest media outlet to promote themselves and their baseless theories – baseless because they don’t know the suspect or his story. And the media, like greedy whores in their own gravity-free reality show, lap it up and put it all in print and on the air as though there’s actually some legitimacy in these pontifications.

Liberals clamor for gun control, nonsensically posturing that if there were no guns there would be no killings. This is like blaming water for drowning. Mr. Holmes – and I note the American Way caveat of innocent until proven guilty – seems to have been resourceful enough to come up with alternatives, as the 24-hour stand-off at his booby trapped apartment clearly illustrates. Sure, citizens need assault weapons only slightly more than we need personal tactical nuclear weapons, but it doesn’t take a PhD in science to make a weapon of mass destruction. 20 minutes alone at a Home Depot should do it.

Modern conservatives say if everybody were armed, the shooter would have been put down early. Right. In a dark theater. Many of these same people put down Scientology or Mormonism because they think that stuff is wacky.

Some media, in their insatiable need for gaudy art, blame the comics – in particular Frank Miller’s best-selling Batman work. At least this gets Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan off the hook for creating a villain with a name that sounds just like the Republican presidential candidate’s Achilles’ heel. Of course, there have been about a million Batman stories published 73 years and you could find hundreds of similarities within the greater Bat grimoire. In fact, the whole Joker-gassing-the-public bit dates back to the earliest stories. I can’t forgive Frank for The Spirit, but people who are trying to conflate the Colorado shootings with his work are lazy slobs.

The fact is, James Holmes is a smart, highly accomplished young man of 24 from a church-going family in San Diego, California, the nicest city in the nation. That’s reality. Some cheap-shot artists are braying “somebody should have said something!” Well, his high school friends said he was pretty normal. His colleges acquaintances said he pretty much kept to himself, although there are reports he would frequent bars and other public places and engage in rational conversation, even up to a few days before the killings. I don’t think Philip K. Dick could have seen this one coming.

Again, reminding us all that he is merely the suspect and hasn’t been convicted of anything, Holmes appears to have simply snapped. Perhaps this happened a couple months ago when he started the process of dropping out of his post-grad programs. It would have taken him that long to put together the guns, the ammo, the hand-wired bombs and whatever else turns up.

I’m not saying he’s insane, at least not in the legal sense of knowing right from wrong. That’s a matter for the prosecution, the defense, and the jury. I’m saying he snapped. Just like anybody could snap. Anybody who feels he or she has nothing to lose, or something important to prove. Under the exactly wrong circumstances, that can be any one of us.

And that’s the true horror of the Aurora Colorado Dark Knight shootings.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

 

John Ostrander: Aurora

What do we say? How do we react? A guy named James Holmes slipped into a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in a suburban town in Colorado and opened fire with an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and two 40-caliber handguns. He set off what may have been tear gas as he started his killing spree. According to CNN, the suspect was dressed head to toe in protective gear including a gas mask. CNN also reported that a federal law enforcement official stated Holmes had colored his hair red and told the police he was “the Joker.”

He killed 12 people and wounded 58. As I write this, eleven are in critical condition.

His apartment has been booby trapped with incendiary and chemical devices and trip wires. Residents in the surrounding five buildings have been evacuated. It may take days to defuse it all.

What do we say? What can we say? Should we say anything at all at this point?

If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t be writing this column. I was working on a different one but I’ve let it go for now. Why?

Words are important. It’s how we take something that is inconceivable, incomprehensible, horrific and give it a shape and form. We communicate thoughts, beliefs, fears and give them a human shape. Some will misuse the power of words and cast the events in terms of their own ideology. They will try to shape the narrative to support or further their views. The events will not be described; they will be twisted. You can see some of this already on the Internet. I know I have.

In the past I have said that nothing that is human is alien to me, that I am capable of understanding anyone on a human level, that somewhere within myself I can find something of that person. Is that true in this case? Am I capable of understanding Holmes?

If I was writing the Joker, I’d have to find somewhere inside of me where I felt like the Joker. And that can take me to very dark places, not places to where I am eager to go. When I was writing Wasteland, I wrote a story from the point of view of a serial killer, or at least what I thought was a perspective a serial killer would have. I now think it was a little naïve. The story was interesting but I don’t know if it was successful in what I set out to do. Would I really want to be successful in that sense? Could I?

The Joker in Nolan’s previous Batman film, The Dark Knight, was not a “criminal” as much as an anarchist forcing Batman and the entire city of Gotham into choices that would reveal that, at heart, they were not better than he was. He would expose them as what his own dark twisted concept of humanity said they must be. Is that what James Holmes thought he was doing? If so, what more appropriate venue that the opening night of the next Batman film?

I’m speculating, of course. Guessing. That’s all any of us can do at the moment. It may be all that we can ever do. I think it’s important that we try. I don’t want to dismiss Holmes as an aberration, a freak, a monster – something that is not me. That’s too easy. He is human. Yes, a very screwed up human but human nonetheless. If I deny him his humanity what happens to mine?

I don’t have answers. Maybe I won’t be able to find any. Maybe the only answers will be the ones I impose on the situation. Maybe I’m wrong and there are monsters. Maybe I’m wrong and it’s not possible to find a common humanity with this killer. In the days and weeks to come, we’ll have more information. Maybe that will help; maybe it won’t. The attempt, I think, is necessary.

We also need to look at a basic fear underlying all this, one that hits home.

The Dark Knight Rises’ director, Christopher Nolan, was quoted as saying, “The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.” I think that’s true for all of us in this little community. This is our home, too, and this weekend was supposed to be a triumph for us in a summer of triumphs – the best summer of comic book movies ever. Now it’s sullied, bloodied and sullied, and whatever sales records the film sets, whatever awards it may win, that opening night in Aurora will be forever linked to it.

And I think that what we fear, deep down, is the possibility that the killer may have been one of us – a deranged, twisted version but one of us nonetheless. That’s the fear we need to name and only words will ultimately serve.

Let’s talk – and listen.

Monday: Mindy Newell

 

Dark Knight Shootings — Update

Colorado officials state they believe James Holmes, 24, the man they charged with killing at least 12 people and wounding over 70 others at The Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora acted alone. He was arrested minutes after the incident was phoned in wearing a helmut, a gas-mask and a bullet-proof vest and carrying two Glocks and rifle. Holmes’ hair was dyed red and referred to himself as “the Joker.” Whereas he offered no resistance and waited for the police near his car in the multiplex parking lot, Holmes’ apartment is heavily booby-trapped with incendiary devices and people living in his building and at least four other buildings have been evacuated.

The usual flame-throwers in the media responded in their sadly predictable manner. The Washington Examiner suggested the shooter was acting out a scene from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight comics. ABC suggested the shooter was a Tea Party member; they later recanted. Countless individuals are blaming the incident on a lack of appropriate gun control. Various police departments across the country have dispatched officers to ward against copycat killers, and Warner Bros. has withdrawn the trailer to their movie Gangster Squad, which was attached to The Dark Knight Rises.

Holmes had been in the University of Colorado’s neuroscience studies program studying towards his PhD. He was in the process of withdrawing from the program at the time of this incident.

Win a Copy of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

On Tuesday, Warner Home Video will release Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows on Blu-ray Combo Pack or Digital Download and they have made two Blu-ray Combo Packs available for ComicMix readers.

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and Jude Law returns as his friend and colleague, Dr. Watson, in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room…until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large—Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris)—and not only is he Holmes’ intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may give him an advantage over the renowned detective. Around the globe, headlines break the news: a scandal takes down an Indian cotton tycoon; a Chinese opium trader dies of an apparent overdose; bombings in Strasbourg and Vienna; the death of an American steel magnate… No one sees the connective thread between these seemingly random events—no one, that is, except the great Sherlock Holmes, who has discerned a deliberate web of death and destruction. At its center sits a singularly sinister spider: Moriarty. Holmes’ investigation into Moriarty’s plot becomes more dangerous as it leads him and Watson out of London to France, Germany and finally Switzerland. But the cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead, and moving perilously close to completing his ominous plan. If he succeeds, it will not only bring him immense wealth and power but alter the course of history.

To win, tell us which is your favorite Sherlock Holmes disguise from this film or its predecessor. All entries must be posted on our site by 11:59 p.m., Monday, June 18. The judgment of ComicMix’s judges will be final. Entrants must have a current domestic address, no post office boxes allowed.

REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

While I like Sherlock Holmes, I am far from a scholar nor have I seen every film adaptation or read every pastiche written. Still, I love the concept and the characters and setting are certainly appealing. Holmes, as created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is etched in the public mind as one of the most brilliant consulting detectives ever imagined with no clue going unnoticed. His encyclopedic knowledge is legendary and his eccentricities make him nothing but fascinating, including the desire to have Dr. John Watson accompany him as companion and official biographer, a level of narcissism unique in the late 19th century.

As a result, when it was learned Guy Ritchie was to helm a new adaptation with Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes, eyebrows rose around the world. Then we saw the 2009 release, and were generally pleased with the bromance between Downey and Jude Law, the latest Watson. This was a more athletic and handsomer Holmes, even capable of expressing desire for Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). The film horrified some and enthralled the rest, earning big bucks and prompting Warner Bros. to fast-track a sequel.

A Game of Shadows opened in December and did quite well at the global box office and now it comes to home video and digital download from Warner Home Video. After the first film established Holmes, Watson, and London, the time had come to introduce audiences to the greatest criminal mind found in literature, Prof. James Moriarty. He was teased at the end of the first film and this time we waste little footage making it clear he’s the antagonist. We’ve already adored Jared Harris’ villainy as David Robert Jones on Fringe so were pleased to see him cast as the intellectual equal to Holmes.

Holmes has determined that a series of unconnected events points to Moriarty manipulating economic and political events in Europe to push the countries on an inevitable path to war. It falls to the detective to thwart the scheme but the key difference between the two is the professor’s willingness to callously murder and destroy while Holmes remains a moral individual. It doesn’t take Holmes long to convince Watson the sum of his equation is correct and despite his impending nuptials to Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly), the doctor agrees to assist. And we’re off.

Along the way, we briefly see Irene before she is killed by the villain and the participation of Mycroft Holmes (a delightful Stephen Fry). Additionally, Holmes becomes intertwined with the affairs of a gypsy clan including Simza (Noomi Rapace) while Watson more or less parallels that with his confrontations with a former military sharpshooter Sebastian Moran (Paul Anderson).

This time around, there’s a lot of sound and fury but in the end it doesn’t signify a lot. Moriarty is correct that the countries are headed inevitably towards war, as happens 24 years later in our world, but the geopolitical issues are never brought up and audiences are left to take the man at his word. His intricate scheme for war profiteering shows a certain level of impatience, a trait Holmes never exploits. Instead, there’s fighting, running, shooting, and lots of talk. The film’s rhythm feels off-kilter as some characters impossibly escape death one time too many while others are dropped with ease. The final confrontation between the two masters, over the clichéd chess table, is well done but by then we’re feeling somewhat exhausted and not all that invested in the outcome.

What is nice is that we get more Holmesvision coupled at the end with Moriartyvision and their final battle is nicely imagined until the final solution, which echoes “The Final Problem” on which the movie is most loosely based.

In the end, the film was a mildly entertaining way to pass an evening but it doesn’t measure up to the first and felt somewhat bloated. If they really move ahead with a third installment, one hopes they find a stronger story.

The video looks and sounds great allowing you to luxuriate in the costumes, sets, and nicely integrated CGI backgrounds.

The Blu-ray comes with the Maximum Movie Mode hosted by Downey, who snarkily asks if we’re unwell or it’s rainy out, the only possible reasons people would watch the film a second time with the extras. He makes some nice comments about the production, how things were choreographer and shot so we get the usual assortment of behind-the-scenes material so yes, if you’re looking to kill two hours (less actually if you skip ahead to just Downey moments)  and like this sort of material, it’s worth a look.

There are 35 minutes of collected Focus Point featurettes in bite-size chunks focusing on the characters and situations. No deleted scenes or gag reels can be found here.

Additional material can be found on the Movie App with script-to-screen comparisons, maps, character bios and other material but that requires serious desire on your part and heralds a movie away from disc to the web for such content.

HANCOCK TIPS HIS HAT TO LAURIE R. KING’S ‘BEEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS’

TIPPIN’ HANCOCK’S HAT-Reviews of All Things Pulp by Tommy Hancock
BEEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS
Laurie R. King
Bantam Books (Random House)
It seems every company, large and small, comic and print, audio and video, so on and so forth, has a Holmes product these days.  Most of them deal with Sherlock directly, but many also veer off into Watson’s life, Mycroft’s adventures, and Moriarty’s machinations.   And amongst those varied adventures of truly the World’s Greatest Detective, many are good, but very few stand out as works that both honor what came originally and bring a whole new life to the concept.
Laurie R. King is known for doing just that probably as well as anyone has.
‘Beekeeping for Beginners’ gives readers the first meeting between Mary Russell, King’s very own character inserted into the life of, at the opening of this story, an extremely despondent Holmes.     Both new readers and long time followers of King’s Russell/Holmes series will find this story to be a true delight.  Questioning his very place in the world with the War to End All Wars in swing and seemingly the time for one such as him past, Holmes comes to a decision at the opening of this tale that, had a young brash girl not happened along, would have made for an extremely short story. 
What ensues after this rather spirited trip away from the melancholy is both a great adventure that revives Holmes and a fantastic character study that adds flesh to Mary Russell.   The pacing is brisk and the characterization crisp and quick as well.   Russell makes a formidable partner for Holmes, able to verbally spar with him, but also willing to learn and play student to the master.   What comes after this opening segue in the series makes perfect sense with this glimpse into their first meeting.
FIVE OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT- Some people bemoan when people go back and give ‘origins’.  In this case, King did nothing but add another great piece of literature to her already wonderful collection of tales.

TIPPIN’ HANCOCK’S HAT-Reviews of All Things Pulp by Tommy Hancock
BEEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS
Laurie R. King
Bantam Books (Random House)
It seems every company, large and small, comic and print, audio and video, so on and so forth, has a Holmes product these days.  Most of them deal with Sherlock directly, but many also veer off into Watson’s life, Mycroft’s adventures, and Moriarty’s machinations.   And amongst those varied adventures of truly the World’s Greatest Detective, many are good, but very few stand out as works that both honor what came originally and bring a whole new life to the concept.
Laurie R. King is known for doing just that probably as well as anyone has.
‘Beekeeping for Beginners’ gives readers the first meeting between Mary Russell, King’s very own character inserted into the life of, at the opening of this story, an extremely despondent Holmes.     Both new readers and long time followers of King’s Russell/Holmes series will find this story to be a true delight.  Questioning his very place in the world with the War to End All Wars in swing and seemingly the time for one such as him past, Holmes comes to a decision at the opening of this tale that, had a young brash girl not happened along, would have made for an extremely short story. 
What ensues after this rather spirited trip away from the melancholy is both a great adventure that revives Holmes and a fantastic character study that adds flesh to Mary Russell.   The pacing is brisk and the characterization crisp and quick as well.   Russell makes a formidable partner for Holmes, able to verbally spar with him, but also willing to learn and play student to the master.   What comes after this opening segue in the series makes perfect sense with this glimpse into their first meeting.
FIVE OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT- Some people bemoan when people go back and give ‘origins’.  In this case, King did nothing but add another great piece of literature to her already wonderful collection of tales.

The Great Detective Goes Corporate in Holmes Inc.

Cover: Ty Templeton

The Holmes and Watson clans are at it again at http://holmesinccomic.wordpress.com/.

HOLMES INC. is the brainchild of Toronto comic book impresario Ty Templeton, instructor at the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop, a training ground for up-and-coming writers and artists. Contributors to the comic are students and alumni of the TCW, many of whom are graduates of Ty’s famous Comic Book Bootcamp. With this project they’ve put to work what they’ve learned at the TCW to show off their skills, and created a great comic in the process.

Cover: Leonard Kirk

The stories in Holmes Inc. feature the descendants of the Holmes and Watson families, in the present day. Throughout the many decades since the Master Detective died in 1935, the descendants of Sherlock, Mycroft, and Watson have managed to keep their family together for generations, serving King, Queen, and country for nearly a century, as the agents of HOLMES INC.

Digital Copies of Holmes Incorporated are available for FREE DOWNLOAD at the following sites: Drive Thru Comics, The Illustrated Section, My Digital Comics, and Graphic.ly. You can find links to each at http://holmesinccomic.wordpress.com/buy.

Print copies of the 52-page Holmes Incorporated #1 are currently $5.95 per copy. Print copies of the 80-page Holmes Incorporated #2 are $6.95 per copy and can be ordered through PayPal. For single issue sales please send $5.95 (#1) or $6.95 (#2) plus appropriate postage (see below) to info@cartoonistsworkshop.com. Postal rates are $2.00 within Canada, $3.50 to the U.S. and $7.00 to Europe. Please contact Sean Menard at info@cartoonistsworkshop.com for postage quotes on multiple copies.

Page from issue 1

You can learn more about Holmes Inc. and the characters at http://holmesinccomic.wordpress.com/.

You can learn more about Ty Templeton at http://tytempleton.com/