The BearSleuth Week Geek Out – LaMarr And Snyder And Bears…Oh My!

This week I am determined to get this feature up at a reasonable time! Last week was just a trial run but this is absolute prime time professionalism in article form. Unfortunately, to my knowledge their is very little to talk about in the world of television so I’m going to jump across and examine what’s going on over at YouTube. Apart from that all I have to say is that it’s been a damn good week and I hope all you back-to-schoolers are settling in well.

The Week In Comics


 

This week is looking pretty strong in the world of comics, the shelves are pretty densely packed and their is certainly a lot of talent to be found. An underground hit of the week has to be Scarlet Witch #10 which is pretty much a perfect self contained story for the character looking at her role in the magical community. Over with the Team Aqua that is DC we have some awesome titles including All-Star Batman #2 and Suicide Squad #2 showcasing talent from two of the greatest creators in the comic book industry, Snyder and Lee.

Marvel’s Team Magma are looking sound all round with some brilliant tie-in titles but my pick of the week has to go to Amazing Spider-Man Civil War II #4, which has to be one of the most complex titles I have ever written. The finale of the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in is probably going to place the series as the strongest of the Civil War II tie-ins to date as it fully succeeds in an examination of the main themes of the event. If you are only going to pick up one tie-in make it this one…then maybe squeeze your budget for the X-Men tie-in as well!

The Week In Film


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Well this week I actually went to see a film which I can talk about, Don’t Breathe. This film was pretty much schlock of the highest order with a particular scene added in just for shock value and so the film can be ‘the film that went there’. I actually think this is a horror targeted at a more female audience as the shock scene is harder to relate to from a male perspective, which probably goes a long way to spoiling it. The male characters are embarrassingly weak but the female lead, played by Jane Levy, seems to have a good amount of depth to her. The villain is essentially, old and evil Daredevil and I find that the film makes a lot more sense in that light.

Like I said up top, there’s not really much in the way of TV news from me at the moment, just finished Stranger Things which gave me a new appreciation for child actors and small-town sci-fi. Heading over to YouTube, Fatman On Batman just interviewed Phil LaMarr and you have to see it if you are in anyway a geek. My YouTube tastes are fairly vanilla but I recommend Yahtzee19,  KaptainKristian and Vuepoint’s Jack’s World if you are looking for something new.

The Week In Gaming


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Pre are in the ten week countdown for Pokemon!!! Like any good fan I’m attempting a run through of HeartGold, Pearl, Black, White 2, X and finally Omega Ruby before grabbing a copy of Sun. I’m going to be grabbing a bunch of grass starters in the way, the unloved Ringos of Pokemon starters, and basically getting myself back in that ten-year-old mind-set. Apart from that I’m continuing a play through of Dark Souls with Ollie from LoneWolfGaming and playing Until Dawn with Will, the BearSleuth camera man.

In Other News…


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The world is teetering on the brink of disaster from a take over of regional pronunciation starting with a plague of government sponsored academies and there will be more news coming on the new BearSleuth writer later this week. That’s about it for this week folks but be sure to come back next week for more sleuthing!

…That was this week’s BearSleuth Week Geek Out!!! Check back on Friday for a brand new article!!!

BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle Week Fifty

For the first time in recent memory the shelves in my local comic book store looked a little bare. With the exception of a handful of tie-ins, there is now Civil War II has ground to a halt, leaves us to wait another week for a main book. On top of that this week there are no DC Rebirth titles, well to be honest there’s a Suicide Squad mini-series but nothing of any substance. So this week we are looking at the fringes and a few highlights I’ve been wanting to cover for awhile which, for one reason or another, haven’t really shown up on my list. Trust your humble Sleuth, I’ll see you right!

All images are screenshots taken from the Marvel and DC Comics apps [Accessed:02/09/2016]

Civil War II: Choosing Sides Issue Five By A Whole Phalanx Of Artists


 

I love Justin Trudeau! I might not know that much about Canadian politics, and the little I do know has come from a close friend and John Oliver, but it is great to see the Canadian Prime Minister turning up in the pages of a Marvel comic. I can’t say there is much more in this book to write home about but Trudeau’s presence is pretty cool. His section is written by Chip Zdarsky who delivers his usual mixture of tongue-in cheek humour and heart. The book is fairly mediocre from there on out making it hard to recommend but as a piece of political-comic book history it’s a highlight of the year.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Issue Eleven By Brian Michael Bendis And Valerio Schiti


 

The Guardians have just come off a monster arc, a planetary-wide cataclysmic arc that is 100% worth your time and attention. This issue is more of the calm before the storm. A brief reprieve setting up the major players in the next epic arc. There’s a lot of interesting character interactions as well as plenty of nods and winks towards the fans. It’s an issue that build heart and character. There really isn’t much to say past that, Schiti’s art is fairly tight and the set up for the big Civil War II tie-in is nice but if you want a big action set piece this is not the one for you. If you like the Guardians grab this book.

Han Solo Issue Three By Marjorie Liu And Mark Brooks


 

When you think of Han Solo you think of the rogue with the heart of gold and this story is entirely based around this concept. Marjorie Liu has created the perfect boys own adventure storyline in space and it is no small wonder that I am completely wrapped up in it. Han gets the cool lines and the brilliant stunts while the pulse racing action hammers on in a plot that will satisfy any Star Wars fan. The art by Mark Brooks is nice and has a lot of subtle detail for an eagle eyes reader. This is a big winner all round for me and is fully worthy of your time.

Ms. Marvel Issue Ten By G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa And Alphona


 

Most of the time the high school drama of super heroics wears thin with me. I don’t like the whinny emo stuff as I’ve been there and I know how much it makes you want to gouge out your own eyes years later. However, in Ms. Marvel G. Willow Wilson has worked hard to make the high school drama mean something, for it to deeply effect the heroine and her heroics. This book is a big Civil War II tie-in and I feel that it will be known as one of the hidden gems of the event for years to come. I like this book and if you are willing to try something different this is a great choice.

Rocket Raccoon And Groot Issue Eight By Nick Kocher And Michael Walsh


 

Well Skottie Young has left the building…whether he will come back or simply leave us hanging while he pens ‘I hate Fairyland’ is unknown as of writing this but I dare say he will emerge with another great idea soon. What isn’t unknown is that Nick Kocher was the only man who could have stepped into Young’s clownish shoes. His take on the title partnership is fantastic, funny and fierce. The story is a loose Civil War II tie-in with more of the group hijinks bubbling up to the surface. If you like the Guardians and you fancy a laugh this is the place to be.

Spider-Man Issue Seven By Brian Michael Bendis And Nico Leon


 

Can something finally happen in these issues? I love Bendis’ slow approach to character development with a lot of brilliantly handled teenage drama but I’m really getting sick of Spider-Man struggling to be Spider-Man. I feel like this story is just ticking over until Bendis can move off his other nineteen projects and give it full focus. I know that next issue or the one after my thoughts will be completely different again but for now I’m a little bored of Spider-Man. If you are a fan of Bendis or Miles or Spider-Man then stay tuned but this might be one you can miss.

BearSleuth Pick Of The Week: Tokyo Ghost Issue Ten By Rick Remender And Sean Murphy


 

Tokyo Ghost is over. Perhaps one of the greatest comics of the last year and it is finished, with chances if a sequel looking middling at best. So how did it all pan out? Perfectly. I know I’m speaking with a bit of fan boy biased here but, I cannot find a flaw in this finale. It’s a brilliant end to a brilliant book and I want every one of you reading this to go pick up the first trade paperback. This is the quiet riot we need in this digitally swamped age and it’s truly beautiful. If that doesn’t sell you on it I’m not sure what will.

Uncanny Avengers Issue Thirteen By Gerry Duggan And Ryan Stegman


 

Another issue of set up as we ease into a Civil War II tie-in. I don’t have much to say about this issue as it simply runs through a few team members and show us their roles in the coming war. It’s fun and if you wanted a little more depth after the main Civil War II books then I can highly recommend it but past that this is in one ear and out the other. This is the worst sort of book to review as its so on the fence, there is nothing offensively bad or angelically good to talk about so I will leave the recommendation to you. Sleuth. Out.

…That was this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler Free a Comic Book Bundle!!! Check back later today for a new OpinionatedDavid article!!!

Comic History 101: Siege

In 2009 the Marvel Universe was a terrifying place. Secret War had dissolved trust between the heroes and Shield in 2005. The Avengers had been broken and then reforged into a more dysfunctional team across Avengers Disassembled and New Avengers. House of M hit in late 2005 and the universe lost almost all of the mutants. Then Civil War came and turned the heroes against each other, only to be followed by World War Hulk and Secret Invasion which left the entire Marvel Universe in tatters with most heroes underground and Norman Osborn at the helm. Under Editor-in-chief Joe Quesada everything had changed and now it was time to put it back, or at least a push in the right direction so that Joe could hang the keys of the universe over. Quesada went to Brian Michael Bendis one last time and asked the writer to pull out all the stops, to make this the comic book equivalent of 4 of July fireworks. With this brief Bendis went insane and created one of the greatest events in the history of Marvel Comics.

The Grand Finale


In Civil War we had witnesses a war between heroes, in Secret Invasion it was a war between heroes and aliens, same again with Planet Hulk except the aliens had Hulk so there was only one natural step left. In Siege Norman Osborn declared war on Asgard, which due to a variety of interesting circumstances was flying over Oklahoma, he would break Thor and any other god that stood in his way and his Dark Avengers would make short work of any hero who choose to help defend the gods. In the early phases of the battle Osborn struck quickly with the Sentry, who turned out to be an incredibly powerful being called the Void, and took down Thor on national television. However, instead of breaking down any resistance to Osborn this galvanised his opponents, bringing together the Avengers, Secret Warriors, Young Avengers and several other smaller factions into a tight fighting unit under the guidance of not one but two Captain Americas. The third act played out about how you would expect, with a huge battle raging across the halls of Asgard and the heroes eventually emerging victorious.

The Dawning Of A New Age


When it comes to reception, Siege got very mixed reviews when it hit shelves. While a lot of people really liked the actual event it represented the undoing of a lot of great events and history in the Marvel Universe, the final scenes showed the super human registration act being thrown out which undid most of Civil War. I feel that the aftermath was a necessity but I do also agreed that it could have been handled better, however, the way the event plays out is fantastic. The book still sold extremely well and most review sites pitch it at the 4/5 mark and while this event is rarely talked about as the best it still holds up for me and I think you could make a case for it being as good as World War Hulk or Secret Invasion. This was the end of an era but it was also the birth of the ‘Heroic Age’ which would take Marvel to new heights! Join me next time on Comic History 101 when I will be looking at the other side of the aisle with Flashpoint and the Rebirth of the DC Universe.

…That was this week’s Comic History 101!!! Check back on Saturday for a new BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle!!!

Adaptive Panels Presents… Avatar The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures

I’m conflicted over whether or not I should have begun this series with The Lost Adventures. Chronologically, it’s the oldest entry in the Avatar comic’s canon, but I wanted to make a big impression at the start and had been waiting to talk about The Promise for a long time. However, in retrospect The Lost Adventures feels far more like a footnote to the cartoon series rather than the beginning of the comics run, so perhaps I shouldn’t have included it at all. Also, I feel like I need some filler here, because I’m really going to struggle this week to have anything interesting to say about this one!

In any case, we’ll be fully up to date with the ongoing Avatar storyline for the near future after this week, so the next Adaptive Panels will be beginning a whole new story. What story? I have absolutely no idea, but in the mean-time…

Overview

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The nature of The Lost Adventures means there is no way I can comprehensively cover everything in this book. It’s a compilation piece, of all the comic shorts that were released during the run of the original series in separate magazine issues, chronicling dozens of stories of Team Avatar hijinks that never made it to TV.

Being just a collection of shorts however should not automatically be counted as a point against it. After all, when the show did a short stories episode the results were some of the best moments from the original series (I still well up a little at The Tale of Iroh, can’t tell a lie). Some of the shorts here even attempt to answer questions about the original series that I’ve always wondered, such as who would win in a fight between Toph and Bumi, and whatever happened to Jin?

Unfortunately, it also means that there’s far too much here to tell you what every tale is about, but also that there are no individual tales that really have enough meat on them to be worth scrutinising on their own.

Analysis

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I suppose the closest thing I can say as a ringing endorsement of The Lost Adventures, is that there are quite a few stories here that I wish had been made into full episodes, because they cover interesting topics and provide great moments of character development. Take Relics for example: In it, Aang encounters a merchant selling old airbender artefacts. When the merchant tells him he acquired them recently, Aang believes they might be evidence of other members of his people surviving their genocide. Searching the area alone, he finds a secluded camp, only to discover he’s been tricked by Zhao, who has copied an old tactic used by Fire Lord Sozin to lure the last enclaves of air nomads to their doom. Aang escapes, as per usual, but the gut-punch of his hope being cruelly extinguished yet again is harsh. There’s more than enough here to make a twenty minute episode of the show, but as it is it feels like a lot of that impact has been stripped out, leaving it less than it could have been.

In Divided We Fall, the gang gets lost in a swamp (again), and ends up regrouping, but being held against their will in an old orphanage by a senile old woman, and a non-specifically mentally handicapped man who I’m left to assume is supposed to be her adopted son. Their story is a sad one, but again, I’m left wishing the writers had been able to make more of it. As it stands, it’s over too quickly and wrapped up too neatly.

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As for the majority of the stories, well there aren’t any I would call bad, they’re just exactly what they were written to be. They’re light bites, mostly entertaining in their own way, but lacking any real substance that might make them interesting to talk about. I will say that the change in art styles between the different shorts is… something. Unlike the rest of the comics, whose writing and art have been consistent, multiple talents have converged to make what would become The Lost Adventures. Some are clearly striving for an accurate-as-possible re-creation of the style of the cartoon, with others bringing their own heavy flavour too it. I won’t lie, most of the wilder deviations aren’t really to my taste, but having the comparison to make is nice, and seeing art style that would come to inhabit the mainstream comics evolve over the course of this book is interesting.

Conclusion

Mostly entertaining in its own way, but unless you’re a completionist, you probably won’t get much from The Lost Adventures.

…That was this week’s OpinionatedDavid article!!! Check back tomorrow for a new VuePoint piece!!!

Comic History 101: Gotham Central

There are a lot of sad stories in every medium and genre. Opportunities where true greatness could have come through but was unrecognised. Critics or general audiences take a book or film or piece of art and shoot it down because it is too experimental or doesn’t fit with the mainstream of the time. Gotham Central is one of these stories as it is a series that both saw wide acclaim in its critical reception and a devastating lack of sales. This is a series which had real potential but unfortunately didn’t quite make the break and for that it is simply fascinating to talk about.

Working day and night


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In March 2001 Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker worked together on a Batman crossover entitled ‘Officer Down’ in which Commissioner Gordon was shot by an unknown assailant. The crossover was fairly successful and the two writers found that they enjoyed working alongside one and other. This led them to bounce around a few ideas and eventually pitch a series looking at the cops of Gotham. Gotham Central. The interesting aspect of the piece came from Rucka and Brubaker’s decision to split the writing and the characters so that Rucka would be writing the day shift and Brubaker would be writing for the night shift. This gave the two GCPD crews very different feels and created a series that could run two stories simultaneously.

Eisners and failure


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The series began to gain some critical acclaim as it worked with very human problems and gave a different view point on the world of Gotham. This led to an Eisner nominations for the series in 2003 for best new series, best writer (for both Rucka and Brubaker) and best penciller/inker. With these nominations also came the new that the series was beginning to fail. It was consistently struggling to place in the top 100 each month and seemed to be losing it following. While Brubaker is quoted as saying this never presented a danger of cancellation for the series, it was plain to see that the higher ups at DC did not consider the series to be beneficial to their bottom line and so they began to divert resources away from the project. Lark and Brubaker began to drift on to other projects and eventually Rucka decided to cancel the series after Infinite Crisis.

Lesson’s to be learned


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When looking into why the series struggled I’m honestly a little perplexed, most reviews seem to be pretty positive and even the slightly more negative ones have specific problems with certain characters instead of the overarching narrative. This book was one of the strongest DC were putting to the shelves at the time and my only thought is that there was either a deficiency in the marketing campaign. There can be an issue with more experimental titles finding their place in the industry but with the rise of companies such as Image I think this series would have be seen as a worthy competitor to the growing independent scene if it had hit shelves today. This is just a case of the right book at the wrong time and I am glad that I am able to share with you this hidden gem of a book. Next week I will be looking at Secret Invasion and how Marvel looked at post-9/11 fears.

…That was this week’s Comic History 101!!! Check back on Saturday for a new BearSleuth spoiler free comic book bundle!!!

BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle Week Forty Four

It’s weeks like these that I live for as a comic book fan. I walked into my local comic book store today to be faced with a barrage of amazing titles backed up by the tightest of creative teams. DC are leading with their best foot forward this week with a triple hit of Batman, Justice League and Superman that will leave any reader breathless. To top that we’ve got a new Deadpool series and the beginning of a new Star Wars arc that will knock you off your feet. And while you’re on the ground there’s a left hook from Snotgirl and I Hate Fairyland to knock your socks off once and for all. Needless to say, I have survived this assault, wrestled my socks back on, and I’m ready to give you the official BearSleuth play by play.

 

All images are screenshots taken from the Marvel and DC Comics App [Accessed: 22/07/2016]

 

Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey Rebirth One-Shot By Julie Benson, Shawna Benson And Claire Rose


 

We’re starting with the weakest of the bunch this week but please don’t take that as a put down for Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey. This year has seen a Ghostbuster’s reboot that handled female characters with a greater care that the rest of the film industry and I feel there is a parallel to be drawn between that film and this book. The mainstream of the comic book industry has had a love-hate relationship with female characters and this book goes a long way to break away from the classic problems. Ever since Gail Simone’s work on Batgirl, and arguably before, the character has stood as a feminist icon in the industry and this book continues that tradition while also working not to sound preachy in its approach. The Benson’s merit the highest praise for making another great female-lead piece and, with Claire Rose’s artwork, this book deserves your attention and support.

 

Batman Issue Three By Tom King And David Finch


 

Sometimes I claim that a certain book would be the pick of the week if only it had fallen in another week because there is another book that has just blown it out the water, but even that doesn’t justify my situation this week. This week might contain two of my favourite comic books of the year and it is only because the other one might start a whole new trend in the industry that Batman Issue Three is not my pick of the week. This book does everything perfectly, the writing is so perfect that I cannot find a sing word that seems out of place or unnecessary, there is an elegance to King’s writing which I can only describe as otherworldly. The structure of the piece stands alone as a piece of art examining the soul of Batman whilst also falling neatly into the ongoing narrative of the book. I have a feeling this is a piece we will be studying for years as a paragon of writing and design in the medium. The artwork is solid here as well as it is simple, allowing the writing to hold the reader’s attention. This is a book and a series you need to follow. A modern classic.

 

Deadpool & The Mercs For Money Issue One By Cullen Bunn And Iban Coello


 

A Deadpool book that doesn’t just rely on one liners and instead turns change with heart and integrity while still perpetuating a sense of levity. Madness. Deadpool & The Mercs For Money continues Cullen Bunn’s trend for playing the character of Wade Wilson as a tragic anti-hero, a trend that has evolved over the years with the character. We see in this issue how Deadpool deals with his reputation in the wider hero community whilst also witnessing the further establishment of the Mercs For Money as individuals. There is also a reintroduction of a fan favourite character that I’m sure will be a pleasant treat for both comic readers and movie goers. This is a solid book and if you are a Deadpool fan then you need to pick it up.

 

I Hate Fairyland Issue Seven By Skottie Young


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I’ll be honest, I always had a good feeling about this series but I never quite expected it to be so strong and to grow such a wide fanbase. I Hate Fairyland is one of the first Image comics (after Walking Dead and Sex Criminals) that I have found non-comic book readers talking about. This is something I love to see and I really think it’s a great sign for the industry as it shows that not only the super hero books are finding their place in the mainstream. This book deserves major attention as well as it is unlike anything else on the shelves and a thoroughly original concept, with only gentle nods of the head to works such as Discworld. Skottie Young knows how to rock out in the art department and he makes sure to splash as much colour and life into every panel as possible. This is another series you should check out, even if you hate comic books this could be the one to turn your head.

 

Justice League Issue One By Bryan Hitch And Tony S. Daniel


 

The big buzzword everyone liked to use when talking about Geoff John’s Justice League series was ‘epic’ but I have a feeling that we are going to have to start toping that with a phase such as ‘divine opera’ when talking about Hitch’s run. The second panel in this book is a double page spread that just tells you everything you need to know about Hitch’s vision for the Justice League and how they should appear going forward. Hitch gets the idea of micro-macro writing that has always been at the heart of the series as we open on one of the most terrifying world catastrophes imaginable while we also see various personal dramas begin to show between the team mates. It’s this level of writing talent, coupled with pencil work by industry mainstay Tony S. Daniel that leaves us with a worthy successor to the work of Johns, Lee and Fabok. This is the start of something big, get in on the ground floor.

 

BearSleuth Pick Of The Week: Snotgirl Issue One By Bryan Lee O’Malley And Leslie Hung


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If you had asked me twenty four hours ago what my favourite book of the year is I would not have been able to give you an answer and I would probably have defaulted to Tom King’s Batman or Vision series. Now I can definitively say I know the answer. Snotgirl is the newest creation from Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of Scott Pilgrim, and I think it might be his magnum opus. The concept is an original dramatic satire on modern life with the sort of out of the box approach that both O’Malley and Image have become famous for. There is a perfect sense of character from start to finish and the personality of even bit players seems to shine through. It’s interesting to see O’Malley moving to the writer’s seat while letting Leslie Hung take over on the artwork front but I think it’s fair to say that O’Malley, while having a style that complements his own writing, has never been the strongest in the art department. Hung works perfectly with O’Malley’s script creating a piece that doesn’t deserve to be in your collection but instead simply needs to be there.

 

Star Wars Issue Twenty One By Jason Aaron And Jorge Molina


 

The Darth Vader comic series is about to finish and I think it’s fair to say it has had a great run, that means it’s time for Marvel to attempt to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time with another Star Wars villain. If you missed the subtle hint on the cover of this issue, this issue appears to be a disguised-pilot for a Stormtrooper mini-series. As you would expect, this immediately triggered my critical defences like a fresh piece of meat being thrown into the lions pit but I have to say I like what we’ve been presented with here. The Stormtrooper squad look interesting and are each compelling enough character’s that they can pull off the anti-hero approach easily. Aaron has put in the work here and I have to say that it pays off in story that will delight Star Wars fans.

 

Superman Issue Three By Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason And Jorge Jimenez


 

I left this one to last. Honestly, I tried everything to escape reviewing this book, after loving the first two issues I really wanted to love this one two but I had been put off by the ending of the second issue and I didn’t want this issue to shatter my hope for a strong Superman series. I am happy to say that nothing of the sort happened when I read Superman Issue Three. This is a great piece and with the fantastic writing talent of Tomasi and Gleason behind it the book continues to deliver a plot that manages to drill to the core of what superman should represent. The art by Jimenez is sublime and there really is little else I can say about it. If you want a good Superman story you finally have one!

…That was this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle!!! Check back today at 6pm for a new Adaptive Panels!!!

BearSleuth Opinion Piece: Comic Con Is Upon Us!

Every hobby community has it’s sacred holiday day. If you try to ask my football mad Dad to do anything while the world up is on then you are going to be lucky to get anything more than a vague grunt from him. I tried to get into contact with our very own gaming gremlin, VuePoint, while E3 was on and I didn’t get a single reply until the presentations were over. Now it’s my turn. I’m your friendly neighbourhood comic book guy and tomorrow marks the start of San Diego Comic Con. For the best part of a week the San Diego Convention Centre will become a temple for geekdom and at the heart of it will be every major comic book publisher from the titans of Marvel and DC all the way through to the rising success stories of the indie landscape. Whether it’s talking about new storylines, fielding questions from the wider community, looking at artist portfolios or teasing future events, the comic publishers will be acting as the high priests at the comic con temple and I can wait to see what gifts they conjure from the ether. On top of the comic book stuff there will hundreds of movie, video game, war game and reading events, promotions and announcements. Every year the convention gets a little bigger and this year is already set to top it’s predecessors.

How Can You Get A Piece Of The Action?


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If you are going to comic con I’m pretty sure you know by now and, unless a love one is about to surprise you with tickets, you might have to consider another to get involved with the event. If you have ever tried to follow E3 or EuroGamer then you should have a pretty good idea how this works. You can watch everything going down at comic con (except for close-doors reveals) on a stream, I personally recommend IGN as they tend to have strong coverage across the entire event but both Marvel Comics and the Hollywood Reporter have their own streams which are worth checking out. Obviously, as many of our readers are British, remember to check the stream’s schedule and then factor in any relevant time differences as not to miss anything. If you come across a point in the schedule that your stream isn’t covering then hop onto one of the others. This will get you closer to San Diego Comic Con however you can go one step further.

The Real Action.


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Jump back forty six years to the very first San Diego comic con, there were barely any attendees and it was essentially a few round table discussions with some of the industry big wigs and the fans. In fact, there was so little interest and funding that the industry had to put on a convention three months before ‘the big one’ just to fund the handful of guests they had. I tried to scour the internet for an image from these first conventions but they just didn’t even have the profile for a photographer, the earliest image I could find is the one above from the 1972 convention. Then things began to change slowly and with each year the panels and the guests profile began to get bigger and bigger. This year’s convention is only a worldwide phenomenon because of the tireless support of fans just like you and me. When enough people put their will behind something it can become bigger than any of them imagined, that’s the idea behind all these super heroes we love and that’s the idea behind comic con. Batman is just Bruce Wayne in a fancy suit right? Fuck no. He is a piece of our modern mythology, he is the modern Zeus or Thor. Our will lends him power. So if the fans before us could turn a few fans sitting around a table with a writer into one of the biggest events in the world why can’t we do it again?

Local Action


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About a decade ago (depending on who you ask), London played host to its first film and comic book convention, now it’s the third biggest comic book convention in the world. A few years ago, Manchester played host to its first comic book convention, which has almost doubled in size and success with every year to the point that it is now pretty much taking over the city in two weeks. Two years ago my home town of Wigan played host to its first comic convention and in only two years it’s seen a huge increase in prestige. These conventions are happening all the time and they are spreading like wildfire, so go out and get involved with the closest on to you, volunteer, exhibit or just simply attend. If there isn’t a comic book convention near you go and start one! Who knows forty six years from now you might be introducing the next Iron Man to your main stage or watching as the world is rocked by holographic technology that lets you become Batman. Anything is possible with enough will. If you think nerds don’t get that then just look at Green Lantern, we created a freaking hero dedicated to the concept…

80s Nostalgia with Netflix’s Stranger Things – Spoiler Free

Stranger Things is Netflix’s new original series written and mostly directed by Matt & Ross Duffer, aka ‘The Duffer Brothers’.

The show’s set in 1983 and focuses on the mysterious disappearance of a young boy, Will Beyer. While watching the show it was clear that it was paying homage to a number of films and work from the 80s, most notably films like The Thing, The Goonies, Stand By Me, E.T. and much more. The show is sprinkled with 80s movie charm and adventure, topped off with a soundtrack that’s reminiscent of John Carpenter’s film scores.

Stranger Things will definitely tickle the nostalgia buttons and have the audience longing for their in adventure, that being said, the show is more than enjoyable in its own right and at just eight episodes the story remains focused and well-paced. Being born at the start of the 90s and my siblings from the early 80s, I have a huge soft spot for the movies that influenced this show and I feel that having that familiarity definitely increased my enjoyment of the series, but like I already said the show functions very well by itself without the knowledge of what influenced it.

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The cast feature Winona Ryder, David Harbour and Matthew Modine among the adult cast and they fill their roles perfectly, doing a great job of making their characters feel real and genuine. But the real spark comes from the young cast who are on par with the adult cast as they search for their missing friend, demonstrating a friendship that is both charming and convincing on screen.

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Stranger Things is an enjoyable series and incredibly easy to binge (I haven’t slept yet). If you have a love for 80s cinema then you’ll love the show, even if you’re unfamiliar with 80s cinema you’ll still find something to enjoy here. The show takes elements that worked and pays homage to the films that influenced it, creating an unnerving and chilling mystery. The Duffer Brothers know their stuff, from the work of Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King; right down to their attention to detail with the 80s setting.

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Stranger Things now streaming on Netflix from 15th July

Introducing Adaptive Panels

First things first, what is Adaptive Panels?


Adaptive Panels is the new feature that I will be writing for Bearsleuth. It will be updating, provisionally, every week, with new articles going up every Saturday starting next week. This is a project I’ve had on my mind for a while, and I’m really excited to share it with our readers. Hopefully, it won’t disappoint.

What is it about?


I’m going to assume that everyone already reading this is aware of the conquest of popular culture by comic book properties in the last few decades. What started as a couple of really big, really surprising hits at the box office back in the 70’s and 80’s, and now turned into a seemingly unstoppable tidal wave of box-office dominating juggernauts. Not only that, but in both film and TV, we’re now seeing a lot of fringe properties, with minimal clout when compared to the household names of the Marvel and DC character rosters, being given their chance to shine, some of them very successfully. This rise to prominence really would have been just a pipe dream little more than a decade ago, and while there will always be a few stinking apples in the crop, I happen to think the whole thing is bloody brilliant (not least because it has made lore/continuity obsessed man-children like myself somewhat marketable).

So yeah, you don’t need me to tell you (despite having just done so, sorry) about the meteoric rise of comic-book characters in mainstream pop-culture. HOWEVER, the adaptation market cuts both ways, and when properties from cinema, TV, games, and whatever else have been adapted into graphic-novel form, they have traditionally received a lot less attention, which I think is a real shame.

What will I be covering?


So, in Adaptive Panels I will be critiquing a new comic book every issue, each part of expanded universes that began their life outside the medium. Some I will already be very familiar with, others less so. I’m going to start with the books continuing the story of the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender (Spoiler Alert: I REALLY like Avatar: The Last Airbender). From then on, I haven’t quite made up my mind. Perhaps I’ll open the floor to suggestions from readers. You know, once I’ve checked that I can actually do that…

What do I hope to accomplish?


Now, I’m not sure I’d call Adaptive Panels a series of ‘reviews’. I won’t be giving any of the books I look at a score, and will try to stay away as much as possible from making consumer recommendations (why would I waste time writing about something I didn’t think was worthwhile, after all). Rather, what I want to focus on is how these comics fit in to the universes they belong to. Are the worlds and characters represented faithfully? Do the comics answer questions/tie up loose ends from the original show/movie etc? And, perhaps most importantly, do they take the original ideas to new and interesting places? Say you’ve never picked up a comic book in your life before (I hadn’t, until relatively recently), but you’re really into Avatar, or Firefly, or Star Wars? Perhaps hearing that there are stories in comic-book form that expand on your favourite fantasies might persuade you to pop your cherry, so to speak, and maybe even provide an entry point for a much deeper exploration of the hobby. That’s a big part of what I want to do as a writer; to further overlap our Venn diagram of collective geek experience, and bring us all closer together as fans.

Right, that’s all I can really say without getting into spoilers for next week (oh that’s another thing; there will be many, many spoilers involved in Adaptive Panels, so be warned). I hope this concept sounds as interesting to all of you as it is to me, and that you’ll all join me back here to look at Avatar: The Promise.

…That was this week’s Adaptive Panels!!! Check back tomorrow for the second part of the BearSleuth British Comic book Industry Spotlight with Lee Sullivan!!!