Episode recap: Gotham S.1., Ep. 1 — The pilot flutters, but doesn’t sputter


Gotham CastRight off the bat (no pun intended), I will fully admit that I am not the biggest Batman fan.  He isn’t my favorite for a variety of reasons.  However, I don’t detest him and I have read quite a bit of the lore due the sterling influence of my wife (although Cap is slowly digging his shield in further…yay!).  I think that Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is superb filmmaking and perhaps the best rendition of the Caped Crusader to date, and if the UK’s Rocksteady has any say in my video game habits I will (once again) be purchasing the CE of next June’s Batman Arkham Knight and blitzing through a spectacular campaign and all-around awesome game.

Nevertheless…I digress, my hate/love relationship with Batman is rather moot, considering that Fox’s Gotham is the Bat media in relative question.  I was trepidatious about the whole affair.  I felt that the media gurus at DC and Fox were pushing for something that couldn’t be successful.  It was announced early on that none of the DC properties would relate, so there was no hope for an Arrow crossover or any bleed through to the films, and the castings are mostly unknowns…and comparatively young— Taking a page from the casting news of Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot, releasing 2015.

Gotham - Poison IvyIf I was going to watch Gotham I wanted Batman, not boy Wayne and the teen villain brigade.  However, what I did not expect…happened.  Instead of focusing on Bruce Wayne and the Batman, Gotham focuses on a young (not yet, Commissioner) Gordon and the exploits of the Gotham Police Department.  Throughout the GCDP’s ongoings and happenings audiences are privy to a plethora of Gotham City easter eggs.  This was a pleasant surprise because it takes a well-worn and critically acclaimed page from Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One (1987).

We get to see Poison Ivy as a girl, Catwoman as a thieving teenager, the Penguin as a conniving subordinate, a young comedian yet touched by chemicals, and a host of other side characters in the Gotham universe.  It is quite interesting, and I found myself giddy guessing who was whom and how their futures would eventually intertwine within Gotham.

Ben McKenzie plays a fantastic young, Detective Gordon.  His voice is just gravely enough, and he plays the part of the outsider trying to do good in a corrupt city.  The show primarily follows Gordon and his partner, Harvey Bullock (played by the talented Donal Logue).  The pilot starts out strong and in manner that I did not expect—  It was almost surprising.  Throughout the pilot’s plot (a murder investigation), Gotham sets the tone, mannerisms, and host of characters to be fleshed out in future episodes and seasons.

Gotham - SceneThe only downfall to Gotham is that it seems geared to fans who know a little bit more about the comic book lore and healthy does of knowledge concerning all of the nuanced characters of Gotham and how they relate.  This is great for an old school comic book fan like myself, but in inquiry I found that quite a few people found the show corny at moments and not as cohesive as Arrow, or its older, quality counterpart, Smallville.  More often than not, these individuals are willing to give the show a couple more episodes to see if they’ll warm up to it, but the general consensus is that was good but not great like comic book fans are making it out to be.

Nevertheless, I am willing to give it more time to come into its own.  It hooked this anti-Batman fan, and I am curious to see if Gotham can be groundbreaking or not— Time will tell.  Check back here next week for a recap of the second episode of Gotham airing on Fox on Mondays at 8/7c.

Book review: “Words for Pictures” by Brian Michael Bendis, foreword by Joe Quesada (2014)


Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic NovelsWords for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels by Brian Michael Bendis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Words for Pictures” is an interesting text— More-so because it is exactly that: A textbook. The author, Brian Michael Bendis, is a writer that I have read for years; he has written some of my favorite superhero tales from the modernization of the New Avengers to his current X-Men runs to the stellar Secret Invasion and Age of Ultron Marvel events. He is the quintessential rockstar of the comic book world, or as he would put it: Comic book famous.

Rarely do audiences get to see the man behind the curtain. We get see their art, but we are removed from their perspective and upbringing. How did they get into the comic book industry? What drives them to write or draw? Where did they go for schooling? How does the editorial process work? How do I become published in the comic book industry?

There are a myriad of questions that get lost in the shuffle of the work, which is not necessarily a bad thing but sometimes there are people who want to know more. The final product, whether it be a piece of writing and/or art or an amalgamation of the two such as comic or graphic novel, should be viewed in the most holistic light as possible, but there are some of us who want to peel back the layers and learn more about the industry and the process to better understand the human experience.

Luckily for us, Brian Michael Bendis followed in the footsteps of the greats before him and created “Words for Pictures,” which is along the same lines as Dennis O’Neil’s “The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics,” Alan Moore’s “Alan Moore’s Writing for Comics,” and Will Eisner’s “Comics and Sequential Art.” It is a modern guide for the aforementioned who want to learn more about the industry. Whether you are curious about breaking into the business or are merely a perspective reader, “Words for Pictures” strikes a chord.

The book covers all aspects of the industry. It begins with a thoughtful introduction by Joe Quesada praising Bendis for his work and ability to create such a guide whilst anecdotally speaking of his own career. The book then segue-ways into the basics and career of Brian Michael Bendis as a writer and educator, as described by him. As he starts to get into the nitty-gritty of script writing he begins to have fellow writers interject and describe their own writing processes and collaborative efforts with fellow artists. This is a unique and clever structure, because it allows the reader to see Bendis’ methodology as well as several others which begins to coalesce into working idea of the readers’ own take on the writing process.

The middle of the text unfortunately becomes a little dry. The narrative shifts abruptly to focus on the artists. This normally wouldn’t be a negative, but the information is conveyed poorly. Essentially a large group of artists were gathered (or at least their responses were) and given a series of questions. This style was executed poorly because as a reader you are subjected to a main question and then the artists’ dozen or so follow-up answers that were merely the same ones reiterated over-and-over again. After the first ten-pages or so of the interview responses they began to blur with another and I was loosing sight of the information being presented. I ended up taking a breather and coming back to it, to finish that particular section.

However, the final portion of the book closes out with a bang and ticks up wonderfully. It is chalked full of helpful inspiration for writers at all stages in their career. There is an entire section devoted strictly to the editorial and submission process, another focusing on the business aspect of writing as told by Bendis’ wife and business partner, a FAQ, and finally tips and tricks of the trade which includes what it truly means to be ‘a writer’ as described by Brian Michael Bendis.

All-in-all, “Words for Pictures” is a fantastic text. It comes from the heart of an educator, but more importantly, the mind of a writer. It touches base on all the important facets of the comic book industry and creative process. Save for a brief dry spell in the middle, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in furthering their knowledge of the craft and business of making comics.

View all my reviews

Film review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)


“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” with Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, and Cobie Smulders

Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Written by Christopher Markus (Screenplay), Stephen McFeely (Screenplay), Ed Brubaker (concept and story), Joe Simon (comic book), and Jack Kirby (comic book)

PosterThe Marvel Cinematic Universe, otherwise dubbed as “MCU,” continues to expand and impress with each new film introduced into the respective universe and the newest Captain America film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” exceeds expectations more than ever.  Marvel Studios seems to now uncover pieces of a puzzle to us one at a time, letting audiences dive into the action and lore of the current generation.  Some pieces have several adjacent pieces already exposed in prior releases, while on other sides we have only film titles, future release dates, and a handful of factoids.  Regardless, the amount of cohesion that is the MCU puzzle is impressive and never before been done; Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige have pioneered the film industry and what it means to be a franchise.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” fits into the puzzle so well, its quality is on par with or even exceeds Joss Whedon’s 2012, “The Avengers.”  Gone are the days of the cheesy Marvel films, audiences now get to enjoy comic book films that are deeply entrenched in nerdery but so well-crafted it is as-if we are watching the newest high-caliber thriller, espionage film akin to the likes of Ludlum’s Bourne or the grittiness of a Ridley Scott drama.  “Captain America: Winter Soldier” is no exception, and while uncovering a new piece of the Marvel puzzle to us, it also pulls from the rich genre well of the great conspiracy films from the 1970s— Bits and pieces elegantly placed together to create a modern retelling of some of the great genre films of the past.

If curious check out this great article by IGN’s Daniel Krupa, “5 Films You Should See After Captain America: Winter Soldier.”  Krupa details out specifics references of Winter Soldier’s obvious respect to cinema history and recommends some of the best espionage films of the era that “Captain America: Winter Soldier” most-likely pulls from.

05Picking up after the events of the first Captain America as well as “The Avengers,” the newest entry into the Marvel series places Captain Steve Rogers in a new world, specifically a new world order.  The inside jokes and technological marvels of the second modern millennium are not as confounding to the Captain as they were in “The Avengers (2012),” but he still lives as a man out of time.  He is conflicted, but at an ideological level.

He pulls upon the threads of a lost life by finding lovers and compatriots of the old.  However, more important than his lust for a forgotten time, he is torn between the ideologies of the time.  Forcing good and evil into a black and white spectrum, just doesn’t seem as easy as it was back in the day, and the idea of secrecy and espionage being the mainstay in a constant struggle tears at Captain America, which is essentially the driving force behind the film.

Captain America is in a brave new world and he knows nothing else than being a soldier.  He is at service to his country, and is trying to find his footing in a different type of war.  The film opens with Cap making a connection with a fellow soldier as they run laps around the mall in front of the Washington Monument.  This seemingly small connection expands throughout the film because it provides Cap a connection to the era; war is eternal and the two can relate even across the decades.

10Captain America’s newfound running mate is later introduced as Falcon (aka Sam Wilson) played by the talented Anthony Mackie.  Alongside Captain America and Falcon, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson); Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders); and Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) round out the primary protagonists, subsequently pitting them against a villain from Cap’s past and present in a sweeping plot that will have long lasting consequences upon S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers, and the entirety of the MCU.

The action scenes are tightly shot and fluid.  Captain America is finally given the chance to prove his dynamism in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”  He is agile and more gymnastic than he has ever been— Obviously refining his skills and training in order to adapt to Norse Gods, men in Iron suits, and, well…Hulk, along with a new world paradigm.  Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who stands by Cap throughout the narrative, is just as fluid and badass as she has been in the prior Marvel films.  This time around we get to see Natasha more in the raw— A little bit of backstory and vulnerability are exposed along with a dash of flirtatiousness thrown in for good measure.  Nick Fury remains stoic and secretive as always, but his role within the MCU also is called into question similarly to that of Captain America’s place.

09The cinematography and art style is at its best in this film.  Not only does Marvel Studios manage to keep an atmospheric cohesion between two films set seventy-years apart, they also manage to tie the two plot lines to one of Caps greatest villains as well as the massive juggernaut of “The Avengers.” This is an incredible filmmaking feat and a tricky endeavor on multiple fronts— “Finesse” is the word that comes to mind.  Continuity is tricky, especially when dealing with comics and an expanded film universe that now encompasses nine films and counting, but like aforementioned “Captain America: Winter Soldier” is merely a new puzzle piece being revealed to audiences.  It fits perfectly in the overall scope of things, and doesn’t deviant anyway from the big picture.

The acting is superb in “Captain America: Winter Soldier.”  Chris Evans is excellent as always and is a more believable Captain America than he ever was a Johnny Storm.  Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow seems to improve every time she stars in a new Marvel film, and the vulnerability and rawness that Johansson brings to the character was particularly believable and refreshing.  It is honestly coming to the point where she could probably handle her own, standalone “Black Widow” film and Marvel would see the return that they would need to film another.  Anthony Mackie is a standout actor that brings a certain modernity to his role as Falcon and ultimately one of Captain America’s closest friends.  The Winter Soldier was excellently cast and written; the presence, shock and awe, and gravitas that Sebastian Stan brings is impressive.  Villains have always been a comics mainstay, and (as Loki has proven) can be incredibly popular and successful in their own right, and with further backstory and films the Winter Soldier can perhaps reach the lofty height of Hiddleston’s portrayal as Loki.  Watching Robert Redford on screen was fantastic.  He played Alexander Pierce wonderfully and his inclusion added another layer of sophistication that rounded out an already stellar cast and well-constructed plot.  Redford’s inclusion was very much akin to Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayal of Colonel Chester Phillips in “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

The film was impressive to say the least.  The plot line was impressive for its continuity and level of construction; the castings and overall acting were topnotch and more than a couple of decades ago would have been unheard of for a comic book film; the atmosphere, art direction, and cinematography managed to tie in numerous elements of prior films while remaining cohesive is the film’s high point among many highs.  At the moment, it is difficult to imagine a film franchise reaching such heights, except for maybe Star Wars.

Fan Art

As an aside, I had the pleasure of seeing two different showing of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”  One was opening evening (but was a standard theater showing), however the second viewing was an IMAX 3D one.  I usually don’t prefer IMAX 3D presentations due to issues with my contact lenses, but this time around I preferred the experience because it was more enveloping.  The IMAX presentation showed quite a bit more peripheral action in the extended sequences and the 3D was not harsh upon the eyes, actually translating quite well to the viewer.  It was visually stunning and added to an already great cinematic experience.

To cap off such a film, movies goers were shown a brief glimpse into the franchises with not one but two after the credit scenes, so make sure to check out the post-credits before leaving the theater.  The first scene gives audiences as glimpse into “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” while the second is little more specific to Captain America.  Nevertheless, they’re both worth checking out, so if you plan on seeing “The Avengers 2” and/or “Captain America 3” stay seated till film stops rollin’.

Film review: The Wolverine (2013)


“The Wolverine” with Hugh Jackman, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Famke Janssen, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Haruhiko Yamanouchi, and Brian Tee

Directed by James Mangold, Written by Mark Bomback & Scott Frank

02Comparing “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” to “The Wolverine” is like comparing apples to oranges.  They are both about Marvel’s burly and animalistic Wolverine, but they could not be any more different.  Origins seemed to explore a bit of Wolvie’s past under the framework of the prior X-Men movies (i.e. familiar characters, settings, and themes), but unfortunately it didn’t hit home like the prior X-Men films.  The writing fell flat, because 20th Century Fox took odd twists and turns with fan favorites like Gambit and Deadpool and then never expanded on them in future films like they promised.  Instead of bridging Wolverine’s backstory to the acclaimed X-Men trilogy, Fox ended up widening the gap.

However, “The Wolverine,” takes an entirely different approach to the eponymous character.  Audiences get to see the Adamantium and claws stripped away in a more emotionally driven film.  Wolverine is facing an existential crisis.  Following the events of “X-Men: The Last Stand” filmgoers get to see the Wolverine battle is own mortality, or rather near-immortality, during a series of dream sequences centering-around Jean Grey, which is reprised by award-winning Dutch actor, Famke Janssen.  This creates a great underlying plot, and immediately sets “The Wolverine” apart from the other X-Men films.

Surprisingly enough, “The Wolverine” closely follows the original comic book volume of Wolverine, Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s four-part miniseries, that set the tone and standard for Wolverine and his story arcs.  Even though the film is set after the events of “X-Men: The Last Stand,” instead of “X-Men Origins,” “The Wolverine” accurately showcases the events of the 1982 comic book series.  Slight changes have been made to modernize and fit the screenplay into the continuity of the X-Men franchise but on the whole I was incredibly surprised by the amount of source material represented in the movie.

06Following the conclusion of “X-Men: The Last Stand,” in which Jean Grey (aka the Phoenix) is killed by Wolverine in order to stop her from committing genocide, Wolverine    once again takes to the Canadian Rockies.  Living as an animal, Logan only ever comes down from the mountains to garnish what little supplies that he needs.  After a particularly unjust hunting party pulls Wolverine from his introspection and a mysterious Japanese woman shows up to escort Logan to her adoptive grandfather, the films gains traction.  The remainder of “The Wolverine” takes place in Japan with an almost all Japanese cast, and focuses on Wolverine’s relationship to a (now) elderly Japanese man who Logan saved during the closing days of World War II after the atomic drop over Nagasaki.

Rivals emerge and mutants aid both sides, but at its heart “The Wolverine” is primarily focused on Wolverine.  It discusses his mental state after killing Jean, his own mortality as he confronts an old acquaintance, and ultimately his place in an ever shifting world.  Hugh Jackman portrays the character perfectly.  He is, for lack of a better phrase, the only actor that could ever play Wolverine.  He is the best he is at what he does.

Aside from the phenomenal adaptation and Jackman’s performance, the action sequences are tight and the revelations are legitimately surprising.  There are only a handful of lines that came off forced or cheesy, but they can be forgiven considering the overall quality of the film.  The pacing is so smooth and cyclical, that I personally had difficulties telling where the climax of the film landed; this left me without a frame of reference.  Usually I can tell when the conclusion is eminent, but this time around I had difficulties nailing it down.  I think that this is a byproduct of closely adapting a mini-series into a film.  It felt more like a series of mini-climaxes akin to the conclusion of four separate issues culminating in the finale of a series.  Regardless, the flow was appropriate and I never felt that the film hung in exposition or action for too long.  It had great balance.

This is a solid superhero film that pays homage to its source material better than most and keeps with the character’s integrity after nearly fifteen years.  Cheers to Hugh Jackman and the whole crew for “The Wolverine.”  “The Wolverine” garnishes four-out-of-five stars.

Also, do not forget to stick around for the after the credits scene.  It ties wonderfully into “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which is slated to release May of 2014.  Its got surprises a plenty and if it doesn’t get you excited for the next X-Men film then I’m not sure what would.

(SOURCE: Film review: The Wolverine (2013))

Magazine review: CLiNT #2.1


CLiNT magazine is created and edited by Mark Millar, and in a revamp beginning in issue #2.1 the team behind CLiNTaims to provide even more swashbuckling content in the form of a contemporarily designed magazine that gives readers a wonderful glimpse into the world of avant garde comics and films.

The issue’s cover is wonderfully rendered by Leinil Yu with inks by Gerry Alanguilan and colors by Sunny Gho, and showcases the heist-themed caper, Supercrooks.  Mark Millar provides an amusing introduction before the issue segues into a pair of interviews featuring Millar’s thoughts upon the origins of Supercrooks and its film adaptation, as well as “a project close to his heart,” American Jesus.

CLiNT does an amazing job of transitioning between traditional editorials and interviews to comics, creating a seamless package that provides a ton of interesting material for low consumer cost.  After discussing the ins-and-outs of the Supercrooks film several pages are devoted to the comic itself.

Created by Mark Millar and penciler Leinil Yu Supercrooks is an enjoyable ride through-and-through.  It blends the best parts of the Italian Job with comic books, and any comic that takes to amalgamating a heist film with the awesomeness of comic books is A-ok in my book.  And, besides extrapolating on a stellar premise, the execution is amazing.  Supercrooksbegins like any good bank robbery movie by introducing most of the team members and bringing them ‘back’ together to fight for a joint cause; the twist though: they’re all supervillains.  The art was excellent and the plot grabbed me immediately—I can’t wait for more!

Next up Rex Royd!

Frankie Boyle first recaps Rex’s crazy universe before handing the baton off to Mike Dowling to discuss his work on penciling Rex’s life and world.  In all honestly I’m not sure I quite understood Rex Royd, his Rexcorp, and enemy,Proteoman; however, that being said, I did enjoy the surrealism of the comic, and the artwork was fluid, diverse, and situationally realistic.

CLiNT then pays homage to 20-years of Lenore by providing a brief expose and a Lenore strip.  Described by the Los Angeles Times as “an unholy union between Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss,” Lenore is a jaunt into the bizarre—but of course, laced with humor.

CLiNT #2.1 begins to close out by introducing readers toSecret Service (Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons, Matthew Vaughn), a quirky James Bond-esque comic that had me almost in tears due to its hilarious opening.  Mark Hamil being kidnapped in some sort of mass science fiction, pop culture abduction is just the tip of the wonderful plot offered within the pages of Secret Service.

Rounding out the issue is Death Sentence (Monty NeroMike Dowling), which is an interesting take on the anti-hero genre.  Basically, a tortured pop-artist becomes infected with a virus dubbed the G+ Virus.  The virus provides a ‘death sentence’ for the victim, but grants him superpowers as he slowly dies.  Intriguing indeed, and definitely a great way to wrap CLiNT’sstellar reboot!

CLiNT #2.1 is my first foray into the spectacularity of theCLiNT-a-verse, but based upon first impressions I will most definitely be picking up a subscription. $6.99 (£4.25) for a 100-pages of innovative content, that delves into upcoming films, indie comics, and one-on-one chats with some of the movers and shakers of the industry—how could you go wrong?  Arguably the best comic book magazine out there.

You can also help support CLiNT by clicking here to ‘Vote CLiNT’ viral on YouTube (video also attached to the left-hand side this article), or subscribe to any one of their social networking channels via Facebook and/or Twitter.

I would highly recommend subscribing to CLiNT through their website or special offer, which is featured below; it is a tremendous value for the content and they are currently running a special promotion if you sign up today, so hop onboard today—you will not be disappointed.
Special Offer: Subscribe to CLiNT and Save 20%, plus get a FREE signed Dave Gibbons ‘The Secret Service’ Art Card! Act now, only 200 available! To find out more visit – http://titanmagazines.com/t/clint/local-subscribe/
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The Deepness in Jenga


Life is a jumble.  Sometimes everything stacks up nice and neat, but all it takes is one slight maneuver and the Jenga Tower just comes tumbling on down.  The part of the puzzle that is different for all of us is the quickness in which we build the tower, how high we build it, and how we rebuild it after it has collapsed.  I could probably expound on the aforementioned metaphor and say that each color represents a facet of our personality and that the flaws that cause the collapse of the tower are the ones that makes us stronger in the rebuilding of our beacon; however that level of detail is in a mindset and post of its own, so I’ll segue from ideological digression to something more grounded.

The last several weeks have been filled with craziness.  My girlfriend’s parents recently moved out of state leaving her feeling slightly uneasy.  All of her family now either resides in Idaho, or on the Westside of Washington State.  In their move, we helped whenever we had a chance to, and at the end of the day we ended up adopting one of their dogs to ease their move.  His name is Cody (aka Kodiak) and he is an incredibly well behaved and cute Chihuahua.  The sad part to the whole affair is that when he was a pup someone decided that negligence and abuse was the way to proceed, so unfortunately his back legs are horribly skewed because both of them were broken after being caught in a mesh kennel and then left to mend improperly.  The same individuals who left his legs shattered and misshapen, also felt it was necessary to solely feed him human food, which subsequently rotted out all of his front teeth leaving him with only his more sturdy back ones to do the munching.  When he pants he looks like a little old man, but even throughout all of the torment he is a well-adjusted, sweet, and handsome son-of-a-gun.  As I’m writing this, he is tightly wound into a little ball softly snoring away.  I’ve already become incredibly partial to him and hopefully with some diet and exercise his little chub will slowly dissipate and his legs can begin to heal.

Along with the adoption of the Chihuahua, I have been fervently writing as Celeste and I gear up for the Spokane Comic-Con.   I was fortunate enough to be able to cover the Vertigo relaunch and restructure last month, which led to quite a swell in viewership.  The Avengers vs. X-Men, which is the big Marvel summer event, just released last week and looks to be a promising 12-part arc that will pit the mightiest of the Marvel Universe in an epic slugfest.  And, at the moment, I am working on a review of Scott Snyder’s “Gates of Gotham” miniseries that premiered last year, before the DC’s new 52, as a kind of prologue to a series of articles that I will be composing about Snyder’s new Bat Family crossover story arc dubbed “The Court of Owls.”  Snyder is a superb writer and continues to push the boundaries of storytelling in both of his critically acclaimed Batman and Swamp Thing runs, so if you get a chance grab a Snyder graphic novel or comic—you won’t be disappointed.

As for the novel, “Jack and the Lilac Butcher,” I’ve kept up by fleshing out scenes here and there, and I am hopeful that the first act of the novel will be wrapped up in a couple of weeks.  It’s been a blast to write and it seems as if inspiration abounds, but I suppose once you are in love with something, whether it be a person, an idea, or a character, it is difficult not to be inspired.  In all likelihood I will post several chapters of the novel back-to-back here on WordPress, at the Writer’s Café, and at Wattpad.  I have been meaning to become more involved in Wattpad.  It seems like a great community of writers and readers that definitely deserves more of my time.

Just the other evening I finally wrapped up Clive Cussler’s “The Race” after slowly slogging through its whimsical pages.  My haste was deeply lessened with work and various sidetracks, but I was eventually able to finish the novel.  I greatly enjoyed it.  It was a fantastic period piece set in the early part of the twentieth century, specifically focusing on the early days of aviation, and the fictional Van Dorn Detective Agency’s various Pinkerton-like exploits.  I have now moved on to finally finishing King’s “Wizard in the Glass,” so that I can dive into his newest Dark Tower novel, “The Wind in the Keyhole,” which releases later this month.  Even though I have not finished the Dark Tower saga I am greatly intrigued by the fact that King has returned to his masterpiece after all this time with a fill-in novel.  Hopefully, this will give me the necessary push to finish the series that I have so longed to read, but never ‘found’ the time to enjoy.  With a stack of books at my bedside I have found that Goodreads has been an excellent site to virtually house all of my reads and want-to-reads, while simultaneously engaging in literary discussions.  If anyone is interested, or already as an account, send me a follow and I’ll make sure to follow back.  I always love to see what others are reading.  There is always a hidden gem in someone’s library.

Well, I am off to dive into the endless sea of pop culture that I ‘oh-so’ love.  A latte, a cozy Chihuahua, some Queen on vinyl, and a bought of writing are in order for this blogger.  A hat off to everyone, and hopefully the sun is shining wherever you are.

Cheers,

Anthony Schultz

Peace Out 2011, and Welcome to the Party 2012!


2011 was a tumultuous year to say the least.  Political, social, and economic strife plagued the world in bounds, but in all honesty what is life without a bit of heartache every once and awhile?  You have to take the good with the bad and grow with it.  We have all seen and experienced our own ‘bad’ and ‘good’ times—let ‘em roll I say.

Personally, this year was a rise through and through for yours truly.  My girlfriend and I finally found our own footing, together as a couple, and began to both get involved with one of our favorite hobbies, comic book collecting and reading.  Now, one of our financial tent poles is my freelance article about our blossoming joint hobby.  Personally, it gives me a great outlet and opportunity to practice the craft as well as indulge in a little R&R for my sometimes-weary soul.

I started working for the Examiner in April of 2011 and over the course of eight months I worked on over forty articles and my hobby quickly became a possible career opportunity.  Along with my work at the Examiner, I also launched two blogs:  “F*ck You” and “The Martian Manhunter.”  Both have had successful debuts and continue to grow at a fairly rapid pace.  I will never commercialize this blog.  It is my baby, and I love having the freedom to experiment and toss-up random posts from the cliché ‘what’s on my mind’ to the more literary posts that I have done in the past.  I wouldn’t otherwise have a means to publish most of these posts in any other outlet, so it provides a great opportunity for me to get my work out there for others to read.  I give more of my soul in an off the cuff piece published here rather than a grossly edited version found sporadically in a literary journal or eZine.

Besides the numerous writing opportunities via the comic book industry, I also published my first short story (Heaven at Night) through PublishAmerica, and hopefully this is just the start to a lengthy writing career.  Whether I publish regularly, or not at all, I will always write; it is in my blood and even a bad wound could not stop me from click, clack, mooing away.  One of my 2012 resolutions falls inline with this idea.  I need to place more vim and vigor into the attainment of publication.  I have a lot of completed work that I have not even tried to send to a publishing house or magazine/paper.  2012 will see me rectifying the predicament with a renewed fervor.

Also, in 2012 Celeste and I moved to Browne’s Addition just west of downtown Spokane.  It is a truly fantastic place to reside.  It is one of the oldest sections of the city, and being able to take our dogs out in the morning, with a warm cup of coffee steaming out of my Darth Vader mug, whilst watching them play in a neighborhood filled with 150-year-old manors and centuries old trees is absolutely priceless (And, not in the cheesy cell phone commercial way).  It really spurs the creative juices and the bulk of my writing has occurred at this apartment (or in the Tully’s and Rocket Bakery just down the street from our building).  I couldn’t be more grateful.

The rest of the year wrapped up nicely.  My family and friends have a myriad of birthdays intermingled with the holidays (from about the beginning of October till the New Year).  So, the last three months have been filled with pictures, laughter, gifts, and great food.  Not a bad way to end the year!

However, my list of resolutions isn’t any less even after such a stellar 2011.  In fact, I want to make 2012 the most successful to date!  I’ve never possessed the will to make New Year’s resolutions, but this year is different for some reason.  I want to write…a lot, and I want to read…a lot.  I have seriously lacked in the reading department this past year.  I always have a stack going, but there have been numerous weeks without a single novel read and enjoyed, and that, in my opinion, is just atrocious.  That is why I am launching a new page on this blog entitled, “Read of the Moment,” which will act as a virtual chronicle of my reading habits.  Hopefully, having a visual representation of my reading schedule will spur me to read more avidly.

Also in tandem with my want to focus on a writing career, I am going back to school this year.  No more excuses; no more worries.  This fall I am heading back to university to gather my wits and top of my credits for a Creative Writing degree.  There is no excuse for me not to have it by now.

Besides these three resolutions, my other goals are fairly basic and slightly ambiguous.  I would like to become more financially stable.  What little debt I do have has almost been paid off, but I would like to cement that sentiment by finishing off the process.  I would also like to live more.  There are some many events, places, and people that I have yet to experience and meet, and that it is practically shameful.  You only live once and you need to live the most out of it.  The soul needs nourishment as well as the body, and living a life filled with good people, wonderful music, new places, and the fantastic smells of excellent food is a way to achieve a euphoric soul.

Before I sign off, I would like to thank the people that have most influenced my life in 2011.  My immediate family:  My beautifully talented and inspirational mother, Chris, my hardworking and honorary Rastafarian father, Rob, my (also) beautiful and intelligent sister, Caitlin, and my joyously rambunctious and energetic brother, Riley.  My best friend and spouse, Celeste Sievers, for always putting up with my random thoughts and ideas. Without her, much of my success either would not have occurred or been pointless.  She is my Iris; my lightning rod to my Barry Allen.  I would like to thank my wonderful friends who have always been supportive in my endeavors.  The quick-witted and sly, Bradley Zook, the always interesting and introspective, A1 Sauce John McDonell, my good friends Jeff and Vanessa Yergens who always have something new to teach me, whether it be about love, life, or the beauty of music, and Brian Triplett for being an amazing writer who is seemingly always available for idea bouncing or great conversation.  I’d like to give a shout out to John Waite and the guys at Merlyn’s for just being awesome.  All of them keep comic books interesting and fun by always engaging in great conversation, and much of my 2011 were spent hanging around the stacks of comics on Main street.  And, finally, my weirdly unusual hounds and los gatos: Norman the brave, the bold, the humorous, and the obese, Jonathan the dog who cleans himself like a cat, looks like a gremlin, and is named like a person, Mosby, cat dog, weirdo, and troublemaker, and last, but not least, Mocha, the mutely peaceful giant who keeps Mosby inline with a swift smack now and again.

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and I hope, even more so, that 2012 provides everyone with a little bit of peace and prosperity.  One of my oldest and fondest idol describes my sentiments from me to everyone out there reading this, “I have and will always be your friend.”

Peace out 2011, and welcome to the party 2012!

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