Friday, December 30, 2011

Comic Book Review: Grimm Fairy Tales Myths & Legends Issue #11

12:12 AM 1 Comments
As some of you may remember, earlier this month, I revealed a secret to you. I, girly girl extraordinary, have a thing for comic books. I know this shocked many of you so I've given you a few weeks to mull this over and come to terms with it before posting my 2nd ever comic book review. I really do hope that you've come to terms with it because as of..well, recently, I'm an "official" reviewer for a couple of really awesome comic book publishers. I ought to ask them if they have awesome blog buttons or anything, but honestly, that's a total sidebar and not the reason y'all are still reading...right? Let's get to the review!

For my very first ever Zenescope review, I was sent a copy of Grimm Fairy Tales Myths & Legends Issue #11.*  As you can see, they were nice enough to even include a graphic of the cover to include with this post. I find that especially handy if you read this and then have a desire to go out and buy the book for yourself once it hits store shelves/their website.

With any review, I tend to start by judging a book by its cover. In this case, the cover art was done by Romano Molenaar. While I actually appreciate the talent that went into this cover, I do have an issue with it. In fact, I bet you can guess what it is. Why in tarnation does she have boobs the size of brontosaurus eggs? Seriously. I know that sex sells and generally, I quite appreciate the body of the lovely heroine, but this cover drives me nuts.

Now, before anyone jumps to any conclusions, I need to say that this isn't a gender issue. It isn't even a "women are being exploited" issue. It's logistics, people. As someone who has huge boobs, let me assure you that they do not stay in place like the artist has depicted. Let me also assure you that they get in the way of everything! In my head, I can see our lovely heroine, in all her glory, jumping into the air..and presenting the sea witch with all her glory. Do you catch my drift here? If you're going to use svelte, big boobed heroines, that's awesome. I'd love to see more strong female figures with bigger assets. Let's just make it realistic, ok? While I can suspend reality for a good story, it's tougher when the images just don't align.

That being said, I really did enjoy this story. I was honestly disappointed that I hadn't had the opportunity to read the other books in this series. This issue picks up with the 4th and final installment of The Little Mermaid. It includes back story on the sea witch that I found really interesting. Like a lot of people, I'm mainly familiar with the Disney version of this story, so this was a nice change of pace. (FYI, Disney stories are rather changed from the Grimm Brothers versions.)

I really don't want to give away the story, so I'm just going to focus on a few of the details that I picked out while reading. Hopefully, it will pique your interest enough that you'll pick up this series for yourself.

The Art -
Throughout the book, I noticed what I consider classic symbols in literature. For me, it really raised the level of this book to more than just a fluff piece. It showed that serious thought and effort went into the telling of this story. As someone who is new to comic books (and who is hoping that I can get Raven to sit down and give me a lesson), I don't know who makes the call as to what goes into the art work. I do know that whoever put this story all together knew what they were doing. Let me give you some examples:

Page 5/6 - Use of pink implying a feminine power.
Page 7 - Panel 1: Cascading Water equals a combination of power and purity.
Throughout - Red sky foretelling troubles ahead. The red also matches the red of the blood of Venus.

The Story -

While I clearly have missed a lot of this story line, what I did find very impressive was how in just a few short pages, you actually come to not only care about the character but you can empathize with them. This is something that many authors struggle to do, but in this book, it feels almost effortless. By the time you reach the end of this book, you've got your fingers crossed and your hopes invested in the "good guys."

I won't give away the ending, but I will say to the folks who put together this comic, I'm impressed. I'm impressed that you didn't go the easy way out. You wrote an ending that is just as real as the one everyone hopes to see. Sometimes, the good guys don't win. Sometimes, they do. In the end, what matters is that they didn't give up and that they'll be back for another issue.


*To all new comic book readers, I don't suggest that you jump into a series at issue #11. If you cannot find the first issues to purchase, ask around and see if you can borrow them from anyone. Trust me, the story lines make so much more sense if you start at the beginning.

I received a copy of this comic book for the purpose of this review. I received no monetary compensation and the fact that the author himself called me and asked me to review his book before another author's book had no bearing on my opinions. However, it did cause me to smile a lot, feel really special and for my kids to roll their eyes frequently at me. 

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gone but Not Forgotten, I Hope.

11:23 PM 3 Comments
I know I haven't been here for a while but this time I have a good reason. Right before Ben's surgery, my laptop picked up a virus while I was actually looking for information about the surgery. While I took care of that fairly easily, somewhere along the line, some important files got corrupted. In the spirit of family, I sat it aside for a week while I spent time with my boys. Then, after picking it back up (and with Peter's help), it was decided that the poor thing needed a fresh Windows install.

It took me a few days, but I got that done and most everything loaded back on my poor laptop and here I am! I'm back. Life is still busy so I make no promises how often I'll be able to post for a while. Unlike some mothers, I wish that break would go on forever. Come Tuesday, I'll be back to a crazy busy time. On top of the normal insanity, my grandma has asked me to start coming over to help her sort things so I'll be spending a lot of weekends over there. I hope y'all will forgive me for my absences and know that they can't be helped. I really do miss writing (and your comments) when I can't be here.

For tonight though, I'm going to spoil you with two posts. Keep your eyes open because in just a bit, I'll be posting my first ever Zenescope comic review! See you in a bit!


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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Comic Book Review: Christmas Fire

11:13 PM 0 Comments
Little known fact. I like comic books. More known fact. I know nothing about DC comics or any other big name comic book company. Don't ask me who an artist is or who wrote what. I won't know the answer. I suppose some might consider it impressive that I'm so uneducated about these things, but it's really not. Comic books have always been a form of literature that I've appreciated but not one that I've had a lot of exposure to. My earliest memory of comic books is the box of them that my grandma always had at her house. In fact, that box is currently residing in my barn. The comic books aren't worth much but I want to board and bag them just to protect them since they're old and they're from my grandmother.

Now, I know you guys. You're wondering what the heck all of this has to do with the title to this post or the really adorable dragon up there. Well, consider it back story. No good piece of writing can stand on its own without back story being in there somewhere.

Now, for more current content. Back on my birthday..Ok, technically, it was the day after my birthday...I got to tag along with Chris and Lauren to a comic con in Detroit. Thanks to Justin and a few others, my interest in comic books had been growing for some time. While there, I met some very nice people (and some not so nice people but we're ignoring them) and got interested in a few comic books. I can almost hear you now..interested? That's not how you work... Ok, ok..I admit, I became really interested. (This is where I stick my tongue out at you, but you can't see it.) One of those comics was the Grimm Fairy Tales comic and one of the writers/editors of that comic is Raven Gregory. Through his Facebook page, I found Ross and that led me to Asbestos.

By this time, you're probably going nuts. I know I would be if I'd had to read all of that and still there was no review. So, before you pull all of your hair out (seriously, this is a bad time of year for that. It's cold outside!), that adorable little dragon up there is Asbestos and he's the star of one seriously cute comic called Christmas Fire. I confess. I fell in love with Asbestos weeks before I ever bought the comic. In fact, if they ever made a plush version, I would be first in line to sign up for usability testing. *

The summary of the story (totally stolen from the back of the comic) goes something like this:

Something's amiss in the Land of Possible, can anyone help? Join a dragon whelp named Asbestos on the journey of a lifetime as he tries to get the one person who can help him: Santa Claus. 

Between the story line, the fact Raven bought it for his daughters and the fact that I was in love with the main character, I gave in and ordered the comic. In fact, I was the very first person to order it from the Etsy shop where Ross is now selling this comic. Thank goodness Ross takes fast shipping seriously because I was practically twitching by the time this comic got here. In fact, I was on my way out to do some Small Business Saturday shopping when I found the envelope on the front porch. I made Jim actually wait while I opened it and squealed. Yes, dear readers, I know this comes as a huge shock...or not...but I squealed out loud. I squealed again when I saw that Ross had included two signed pieces of art just because I was his first Etsy customer. This is one of the pieces he included:

This was especially cool since I also happened to be his 200th fan on his Facebook page. I have to tell you that there's nothing more cool than an artist/author making an individual fan feel like she's someone special and that's just what Ross did for me by including that artwork.

Sadly, it was a few days before I found the time to sit down and read this little gem of a comic book. When I did, though, I have to tell you that I wasn't disappointed. The story was great. It was written at a level that both kids and adults could enjoy it. Honestly, I'm looking forward to having the boys check it out. If I had any complaints, it would be two really little things...

1. I would have loved to have seen the pictures done in color. Other than the front cover, all of the pictures are black and white drawings. While I can appreciate that it would most likely be more expensive to produce the book in full color, this was advertised as a comic not a coloring book and the black and white drawings made me think, "Where are my crayons?" Perhaps 2 versions could be produced..kind of a cross platform marketing campaign.

2. I'd have loved for this to be just a tad longer. I think it's mostly because I love this character so much. I'd love to know his backstory. I'd love to see where he goes next. Honestly, I'd love to write an Asbestos story. This reminded me so much of the stories I used to make up for the boys at bedtime.

In closing, because I know this has been one heck of a rambling post, I'd just like to say a huge thank you to Ross for allowing me to tell people about Asbestos. I'd also like to point out to all my parental type readers that Christmas will be here before you know it and this little comic book should be under every Christmas tree. At $7, it's far less than a lot of us pay for books and your child will delight in seeing Asbestos on his journey to save the Land of Possible and to find Santa.


* This is a sad geek joke. Usability testing isn't done on stuffed toys.

I actually bought this comic book myself. I received nothing in exchange for this review. It was all my idea and my money and clearly my rambling opinions. Have you bought the book yet? If not, go the know you want to and Santa is watching...

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Depression Sucks

5:10 PM 1 Comments
It's not often that I write about the darker sides of being me. That's not because I'm trying to hide them but because usually they're manageable. Usually I can find the good in nearly every situation. Usually, I'm me. Today, I'm not.

I know how weird that sounds, but on some levels it's true. I'm a hard worker. I'm focused. I'm generally a clear thinker. Today, I'm none of those things. Today, the depression is muddling my brain and it frustrates me. It makes me angry.  The only problem with that? I don't feel those emotions properly. I know they're there, but my brain can't process them.

Why? It's too busy going oooh there are the bad brain chemicals floating around in here. That leaves the rest of me to go ok, so now what? Well, what my body wants to do is nothing. It wants to sit here and not focus on anything but how those chemicals make it feel. What do I want to do? I want to finish Christmas presents. I want to do laundry. I want to clean house. I want to finish writing the review that I promised a certain comic book creator. I want to turn on Christmas music and be able to have it in the background.

What am I doing? A combination of both. I've started the review but every time I get going, something distracts me and my brain just cannot multitask today. Even writing this post is hard because my brain is trying to focus elsewhere. In fact, I'm starting to get a headache from forcing it to finish this post.

This isn't fun. Really and truly, it's having days like this that make me tell those who come to me claiming to have depression to be glad that they really don't. It can be so entirely disabling and the only thing I can do is not to give into it. I cannot give into the desires to go back to bed and curl up and sleep. Sleep is how my brain handles the crazy chemicals whirling around inside. Instead, I will force myself to focus, even if it's just on one thing at a time and I will get through today and tomorrow and as many days as it takes to get back to being me again.


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