Tagged: House

MINDY NEWELL: Paging Dr. House

This past Tuesday, August 30 to be exact, the New York Times ran an article by Dave Itzkoff about the “new” DC reboot. It was called “Heroes Take Flight, Again.”

It’s an interesting article. And its tone is that of a penultimate eulogy. To quote Itzkoff, “Within the DC universe, this new status quo is the result of efforts by the fleet-footed Flash to alter the course of history. But in the real world it is a last-ditch plan to counteract years of declining sales throughout the comics business.”

It’s rather like an episode of House, isn’t it? He wants to try a risky, dangerous, could-kill-the-patient-instead-of-saving-him treatment and everybody around him either has an opinion or just wants to avoid the whole subject. Cuddy is worried about the lawyers and the reputation of Princeton-Plainsboro Medical Center. Wilson is busy psychoanalyzing his friend’s penchant for walking on the edge. Foreman objects mostly because he didn’t think of it first. Chase, having forsaken the medical principle of “first do no harm” a few seasons ago when he killed a dictator who was under his care, pretty much shrugs his shoulders. Cameron is too busy in the ER to get very involved, other than to shake her long blonde hair and hot tush in House’s face and say, “you’re just gonna do what you want anyway.” Taub is caught between his Torah – he who saves a single life, it is as if he has saved the whole world – and probably causing the patient even more suffering if the treatment is allowed, and “Thirteen,” facing eventual horrible death herself thanks to the Huntington’s Disease that stalks her, thinks House is right, because she sees herself in the patient, and she wants to live.

I remember when I first heard of Crisis on Infinite Earths. I was upset. I didn’t understand why DC had to go messing with my childhood. But under the able hands of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, it was, frankly, a thrilling story. To me, when Marv and George killed Supergirl – and I’m still mightily pissed off about that! – that was it, man, I knew this was going to be a classic.

The only trouble was, it started off a wave of “mega-reboots” over at DC that sounded like “good business” at the time. And now, after some 30 years, only seems to make me, and everybody else, yawn.

Infinite Crisis. Final Crisis. Crisis, My Ass. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me something I don’t know.

‘Cause most of these reboots, start-overs, begin-agains are so obviously an attempt to “save the life of the patient” that it’s insulting to the reader. Jim Shooter is quoted in the Times article as saying “This whole attitude of, ‘Oh, go ahead, start over, reboot,’ people get tired of that…as storytellers, I don’t know where we wandered off to.” I totally agree with him.

S-T-O-R-Y. A narrative. An account. A tale, yarn, legend, fairy-tale, chronicle. Something that stays with you. That for whatever reason strikes a resonant chord within.

Was The Lord of the Rings a business decision? Was Grapes of Wrath? A Tale of Two Cities? The Three Musketeers? Alice in Wonderland? The Man in the Iron Mask? Peter Pan? If I keep on going this will be a column about the Book-of-the-Month club.

I’m hoping this works for DC. I’m hoping the company doesn’t stay alive just to feed the licensees. I’m hoping that I’m thrilled again.

I’m hoping that Dr. Gregory House can pull another miracle out of his misanthropic hat.

TUESDAY: Michael Davis

A Brief Look at Iconic Locales for Thrillers

Enchanted forests, haunted hillsides, secluded cabins and the creatures that reside in dark places – have had us biting our nails since the early German Expressionist film era.  Witches, werewolves, monsters and maniacs can be lurking ‘round the corner just about any place you can imagine.  With Nicholas Cage’s Season of The Witch out on DVD and Blu-ray next week, we’re going to take a look at some of the most iconic and eerie locales in thrillers and horror films that make for the best places to splatter, slice and slash.

Lakes

Crystal Lake is well-known from the beloved Friday The 13th and even though those films are set in New York, there so happens to be a real Crystal Lake in the San Gabriel’s near Los Angeles that many horror fans like to claim as their own.  Lake Placid is home to a killer crocodile and movies like Eden Lake, Zombie Lake, Rogue, What Lies Beneath, Lake Dead and of course Sleepaway Camp will make you want to go out and purchase a life vest and/or take some self-defense classes.  Deliverance and The Host are set on rivers and Ghost Ship is on the ocean, but we won’t hold it against them.

Cabins & Hotels

Cabin Fever, The Shining, Hostel, and Vacancy are just a few of the great films set in secluded vacation spots. Of more recent fame, Lars Von Teir’s Antichrist took the cabin in “Eden” to a whole new level of crazy.  No one can of course touch the masterpiece Evil Dead, where incantations read in the basement of the cabin wake up some flesh eating demons that no one forgets.

The Woods

The Blair Witch Project, Wrong Turn, Sleepy Hallow, Dreamcatcher, Shrooms all take us on a journey along streams, mossy banks and haunting willows that creep the living daylights out of you.  Taking it to the jungles, The Ruins and The Island of Dr Morteau receive honorable mentions.  Season of The Witch, out on DVD and Blue-ray June 28th crosses over into the supernatural into perilous terrain that makes way for a terrifying and powerful force that determines the fate of the world.

This could be why the canny Joss Whedon wrote the forthcoming thriller The Cabin in the Woods. No fool he.

Your House

Scream, Paranormal Activity, The Amityville Horror, The Grudge, The Others, The Haunting in Connecticut and The Last House on the Left are just a few of the films that really take it to the next level and bring the horror and gore way past your comfort zone.   Funny Games could easily fit into the Cabin category but it still hits way too close to home.  And grandpa’s house most certainly counts for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Hills get a runner up location nod due to films like The Hills Have Eyes and the 1959 B Movie Classic, House on Haunted Hill.  And sure Silent Hill even though we know it doesn’t really count.

Twitter Updates for 2011-03-02

Twitter Updates for 2011-03-02

  • Where's The Tardis? BBC Doctor Who Tardis Building Contest http://ow.ly/45dgk #
  • Todd Klein Chooses Comics' Greatest Logos! http://ow.ly/45gLN #
  • Download New York’s Official Apocalypse Manual! http://ow.ly/45h74 Sadly, no mention of Morlocks, CHUDs, or Snake Plissken. #
  • Real-Life Superwomen Solve Crimes and Save Lives – Newsweek http://ow.ly/45gWt #
  • SF Writers Advise Homeland Security: http://ow.ly/45kR3 Puts that illegal alien probelm in a whole new light… #
  • Congressman From New Jersey to Save Human Race http://ow.ly/45PFH And if you think this gets him any respect in the House… #

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National Graphic Novel Writing Month Day 19: Pages As Scenes

National Graphic Novel Writing Month Day 19: Pages As Scenes

Consider the simple comic book page.

I know, your first thought is: this isn’t my problem. I’m the writer, not the artist. This is National Graphic Novel Writing Month. National Graphic Novel Drawing Month isn’t for a while yet.

No no no. The page is important as a unit of storytelling, and as a writer for graphic novels, you should be thinking visually to prepare for it.

Think about an hour long episode of television. Many people think of it as the five act structure, with eight or nine minute acts acts being broken up by commercial breaks. (Yes, 44 minutes of television.)

But it’s often more useful to think of it as twenty-two two minute scenes. It breaks the story down into much smaller bits, with each scene delivering some useful piece of information about the story or characters, while allowing for contrasting bits and alternating plotlines.

Think of an episode of House MD, broken up into two minute scenes.

1. Meet the patient, who collapses from something strange.

ROLL CREDITS

2. Doctors sit around table, House comes in, establishes problem.

3. Doctors meet with patient, run tests, get background info needed for the patient.

4. House gets involved in wacky scheme to get Wilson and Cuddy to appear in roadshow production of Guys & Dolls to pay for new MRI machine.

5. Doctors apply cure to patient, which fails spectacularly and leads to growth of extra arm.

END FIRST ACT, COMMERCIAL

This structure also works for comics, where you can go page by page and figure out what has to go where.

Page 1: The Green Goblin is testing his equipment, then he meets with the Enforcers to hire them to help him deal with Spider-Man.

Page 2: Goblin cuts a deal with a movie mogul to get Spider-Man to appear in a film.

Page 3: Peter Parker is at school when he hears about Goblin flying over New York; he excuses himself to change.

Page 4: Spidey meets Goblin, Goblin pitches the movie deal.

Page 5: Spidey goes to movie mogul, haggles over the deal, and signs to make sure he has money for Aunt May’s medicine. The Goblin lurks in the background, noting that Spidey is falling into his trap.

Simple sounding? Sure. And yet, that’s pretty much how Amazing Spider-Man #14 introduced the Green Goblin to the world.

In addition, the end of the page is a natural break point in your story, a good place to bring a scene to an end, while your reader is turning the page.

So take a look at how other people use the page in their writing– then try it in your own work.

Remember: you can follow all the NaGraNoWriMo posts here!

Now I’m an Avenger Too…

Now I’m an Avenger Too…

“So there I was, about to embark on an amazing journey through time, when my bat-phone rang.”

“Bruce? It’s Steve. Rogers. Captain America? Oh come on! Kurt and George made us fight a ton back in JLA/Avengers! Say, listen… I heard you got your Bucky to fill in for a while? Good. Let me tell you about this opportunity we have over here at the House of Ideas…”

“Long story short? Sorry Grant… I don’t want to see how many creepy perverts you’ve got stored throughout time. I got a posh gig at a new mansion in New York. Bats-out!”

Disney To Buy Marvel

Disney To Buy Marvel

Disney Entertainment, owner of damn near everything in the entertainment world, is planning on purchasing Marvel Entertainment. The purchase price is purportedly $4,000,000,000. That’s four billion, for the zero challenged.

No word on what will happen to the current crew of Marvel employees, but as of this writing the House of Idea is not expected to move to the west coast.

More as this story develops.

Interview: Chris Claremont on ‘X-Men Forever’, part 1

Interview: Chris Claremont on ‘X-Men Forever’, part 1

This is the first part of a very long interview with Chris Claremont that started on the topic of X-Men Forever and branched into a number of other areas. We start the interview today to tie in with today’s release of X-Men Forever Alpha, and we’ll be running more as we get closer to the release of X-Men Forever #1 next month.

ComicMix: X-Men Forever Alpha is a reprint of the first three issues plus an eight page bridge to the
new series, correct? What do we need to know going in?

Chris Claremont: Essentially
nothing. Those were the issues going in, to establish all the fundamental
parameters: the X-Men are a team of heroes that are based at Xavier school for
gifted youngsters at Salem center, outside of New York City.

CM: So you’re
starting up right from where you left the book in 1991.

CC: Yes.

CM: Is this House Of C, then, as compared to House of M?

CC: No, it’s the
Marvel Universe, there’s no real change to it, other than the fact that in a
very practical sense that the subsequent sixteen, seventeen years of material
following my departure doesn’t exist.

CM: So this is a
new forked off continuity.

CC: Yes. We’re
essentially picking up where I left off and the only acknowledgment we are
making to the passage of time is that if a label needs to be placed on #1, #2,
and #3, they occurred in the opening months, weeks, whatever of 2009.

CM: Then
everything that happens since in mainline Marvel continuity has not happened
and is not going to happen?

CC: Everything
that relates to the X-Men specifically has not happened. The origins of
characters that were established after I left are not necessarily the origins
that we will encounter here. For example, the reality in this book is that
Sabretooth and Wolverine are father and son. Betsy Braddock has not been
transferred into a cloned dead Asian body.

CM: Do you find
it strange that people are looking at this series and referring back to your
original run as the time when X-Men continuity wasn’t convoluted?

(more…)

‘Human Target’ picked up by Fox

‘Human Target’ picked up by Fox

It’s official: Fox has picked up Human Target, the DC Comics series created by Len Wein, Carmine Infantino, and Dick Giordano, as a new drama series this fall. The show was apparently the best-received pilot at the network’s
screenings last week.

The show centers on Christopher
Chance (Mark Valley from Keen Eddie, Boston Legal, and Fringe) as a bodyguard with a unique
form of security: he assumes the identities of people in
danger, becoming the “human target” on behalf of his clients.

Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, Nightmare on Elm Street) and Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies, House, Boston Public) will co-star in the project written
by Jon Steinberg and directed by Simon West (Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider). The two exec produced
the pilot with McG (Terminator: Salvation).

This continues a long streak of Len Wein’s comics work being adapted for the screen: off the top of my head, we have Swamp Thing, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, and Lucius Fox. Even Human Target has been adapted before, in a 1992 series on ABC starring Rick Springfield.

‘Lost’ rules the Internet

‘Lost’ rules the Internet

While the networks and studios try and figure out how to make serious profit from airing their productions online, a new study shows that ABC’s Lost is the king of the net. According to Nielsen VideoCensus statistics, there were 35.8 million video streams of full-length episodes, clips and other shortform content.

The report stated that “130 million unique users watched 9.7 billion streams, up nearly 39% from March 2008 and up nearly 9% from February’s benchmark.” Viewers watched 169.3 minutes in February compared with 190.3 minutes in March.

As to where people watch the content, YouTube is the top spot with 5.47 billion video streams and 89.4 million unique viewers for March with Hulu in second place with 348 million streams and 8.9 million unique visitors, followed in popularity by Yahoo, Fox Interactive Media, MySpace and the Nickelodeon suite of sites.

Of the networks, ABC ruled the roost with CBS slowly gaining ground. As for the programs themselves, with Hulu not offering show specific breakdowns, the numbers indicate Grey’s Anatomy was number two with 19.7 million streams and 1.2 million unique viewers trailed by Dancing With the Stars, Family Guy, The Office, The Simpsons and House.
 

Interview: Keith DeCandido and ‘Farscape’

Interview: Keith DeCandido and ‘Farscape’

Keith DeCandido is known throughout the fan community as one of the best writers of media-related fiction in both the novel and graphic world.  While primarily recognized for Star Trek, he has also written fiction based on Supernatural, CSI: NY, and Farscape, among others.  His novel of John Crichton’s adventures, House of Cards, was published in 2001.  Recently, BOOM! Studios picked up the rights to publish new Farscape stories and the show’s creator, Rockne S. O’Bannon, will plot the first one with a script by Keith and art by Tommy Patterson.  After some delay, the first issue will be in stores on Wednesday/ ComicMix briefly spoke with Keith about the show and how he got involved in the new stories.

ComicMix: When did you first discover the show, Farscape?  Why were you hooked?

Keith DeCandido: I kept hearing good things about it from people who were watching it—this was in the first season in 1999—and I caught an episode or two and liked it. What hooked me in general was a four-episode marathon Sci-Fi did, and what hooked me in particular was the moment in "A Human Reaction" when Crichton confirmed that he wasn’t home, but in a simulation created from his memory when he threw the women’s room open and it was orange swirly stuff. I was hooked at that point….

CMix: How did you end up writing House of Cards and what sparked the idea for the story?

KRAD: Mine was actually the last of the three Farscape novels commissioned, but the first one released. There were delays with Andrew Dymond and David Bischoff’s books, so they needed a book quickly, and Greg Cox, the American editor of the books (they were published first in the UK by Boxtree) recommended me. Greg and I have worked together many times in the past, and he knew how much of a Farscape fan I was and that I could hit deadlines. As for the story, my brain went to the idea of "Rygel loses Moya in a card game," and I ran with it from there.

CMix: With Farscape over, how did you learn about the comic line and how did you get involved?

KRAD: Honestly, I read the press release about BOOM! getting the rights, and I went to their web site, found a contact e-mail, and said, "Hey! I wrote House of Cards! Henson and Rockne and the fans all like me! Pick me, pick me!" Amazingly, that actually worked (which I think was a first for me….).
 

(more…)