Denver Comic Con 2014 Interview – Yanick Paquette

We were just walking around Denver Comic Con, minding our own business, when Yanick Paquette decided to be the coolest guy in the world. About a month ago, we decided to spotlight our favorite guests at the convention, and Yanick was quite impressed with our research on his piece. When we met him at the convention, we saw not only his extreme talents, but his charisma at work. After chatting it up for 10-15 minutes at his booth, watching him draw a commission for Jean Grey, he asked us if we would like to interview him the following morning. YES! We tried to play it off cool, but we were really excited to meet him. One day and a full night of research later, we were ready to go. We discussed everything from Swamp Thing and Wonder Woman: Earth One to independent books and colorists. He is a full transcription of what went down when Robert and Sherif sat down to interview Yanick Paquette.

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Hush Comics: You just got back from an insane touring schedule in Europe. How does the comic book convention scene abroad compare to how it is in America?

Yanick Paquette: Well, a few years ago, in Europe, you would not charge for sketches and it was more about meeting the fans, I guess. The way I see it, the modern convention, the American structure where fans come and pay for sketches and fans interact, is really the model for everybody now. Except maybe France, who will always resist. In the U.K. for instance, the shows are getting bigger, better and longer. This is the case in the United States, too. Here, it is the third year in Denver. It is a pretty decent, huge show. In Montreal, I’m from Montreal, and there were little shows trying to pop up now and then and there were crappy shows and they didn’t last. We have a show in Montreal. I’m not sure how many editions there are, maybe the 5th edition. Now there is some traction.

I am doing a lot of shows, only because my schedule allows it. As I’m not doing a monthly book, I can agree to more. For instance, in August, I am going to Argentina. Eduardo Risso has a small show there. He’s invited just a few people. That is going to be fun. I’m doing Malta. I’m doing a few other shows abroad. [This weekend] it is Charlotte for me. I’m all over the place. It’s good. When I started doing comics, the idea was, ‘Can I get a living out of just drawing? That is good enough if I can get a living out of drawing. Not even a big living, just drawing and get some money.’ That was good enough. But it turned out it’s a way to travel now, so I am traveling all over the place. That was unexpected, but it’s great.

HC: Checking out your Twitter feed, we see that you do as much promoting of other creators as you do for yourself. Is there any work out right now that you feel that the world needs to know more about?

YP: There is Jeremy Bastian, over there. He has a booth here. He is doing something called Cursed Pirate Girl. His stuff is absolutely amazing. He is shy and gentle, and he works his thing. It’s, of course, not Marvel and DC, because it is way too good. He’s been doing his thing forever. Now he is getting some attention in Europe. Obviously that kind of material will work super well in France. I think he is getting there now. Everyone should be aware of this man’s existence because he is just a miracle.

Taken from Jeremy Bastian's Blogspot. Buy Cursed Pirate Girl here.
Taken from Jeremy Bastian’s Blogspot. Buy Cursed Pirate Girl here.

HC: A couple of months ago you expressed the need for DC to start trying to keep their elite colorists in their staple. Can you go into some detail about how much a colorist contributes to the work of the book?

YP: It is a massive contribution. I’m not going to give names, but I’ve been colored by people who have just destroyed my entire month of work. As you open a book, it is the first thing you see. You don’t see the story, because you have to read it. The picture takes some time to acknowledge, but the color is the first thing that is going to punch you in the face. A good colorist can help you with the story telling, can push forward the understanding of the page – the atmosphere and everything. I’m inking myself. I’m penciling and inking, and the only other guy on the team is the colorist. It’s a two-man operation. There’s a lot that I leave for him to do, and it’s truly a team effort. Back in the day, in the 80’s for instance, colorists could do 10 or 20 books a month. It didn’t matter because it was just flat, simple color. But now it is complex stuff. And when it is complex you can really screw it up. [Doing his best colorist impression] ‘I’m going to airbrush everything. I’m going to paint over things.’ Sadly, there are a lot of people in DC and Marvel, mostly at DC, that is part of the problem that will go into not-so-great coloring.

It is obvious that talent is required and talent has to be recognized and paid accordingly. I couldn’t say if DC pays the colorists less than Marvel. I think DC, in general, will pay more. We have overseas royalties. I think they treat the artist better, but the colorist’s stature is still part of the production department more than on the art team, which was the case for both DC and Marvel. Years ago, Marvel did change that structure. DC I’m sure will, sooner or later, follow into that legal structure with their colorists because it won’t make sense. They are always on the same bracket, but it has been a few years that DC hasn’t complied with that new definition of what the colorist should be. When you have your name on the cover and the little on the royalties, it’s not going to be huge money for anyone, but it is a symbol that you are part of team and that you are responsible for the success or the failing of the product. And we recognize that.

On that subject, when I went out and said that [referring to colorists getting paid], Bleeding Cool, spun the story saying that I’m challenging DC to pay. But it isn’t confrontational at all. I have total faith in DC to do it. If anybody needs to take a breath and play ball it is the writer and the artist. That world is a pie. DC allows a piece of the cover price to be split between the art team. I am asking to revisit the pie. Let’s take a bit of my money, of the writer’s money, and the inker’s money, and let’s share that with the colorist so he is part of our team. The challenge might be to get some of the writers and artists to give. It’s more the art team that I challenge to recognize the colorists.

HC: So speaking of colorists, are there any who you specifically love and would really like to work with?

YP: I’m working with Nathan Fairbairn for… He’s my man. We have been working together for a long time. He was working with me, and Chris Burnham, on Batman Inc. We work together because of our friendship, because we have been working together for a long time and because I trust him totally. We have a good working relationship of respect. He brought forward that it’s not so cool [colorists not being paid]. Especially, Wonder Woman: Earth One has a long shelf life. Who knows how much it is going to sell? It wasn’t so fun for him to come aboard on this and not get any piece of it. In part, it was for him that I came forward saying that we should change. I had a hard time to convince him to stay on Wonder Woman. ‘I need you! I don’t want to go onto 120 pages with someone I don’t know.’ It’s very intimate. My artwork is super intimate. I spend so much time and it is very personal. And you are inviting other people in your bed to share this thing with you, you don’t want someone that you don’t trust or that you don’t know who will screw this stuff up. When Nathan was not sure, I had two other options: Dave Stewart, who is absolutely a miracle, probably the best colorist there is, and Laura Martin. Laura is also an absolute magnificent colorist. I’m glad that we ended up working out something with Nathan for this. As I do a page, I feel confident that my man has my back if something goes wrong, and if he is there, the page is going to look good. He boosts my confidence.

HC: Perhaps your most notable signature your crazy panel layouts and how you split up the panels with different elements of the story. What was your inspiration to do this?

YP: It started a little bit before Swamp Thing. I did an issue of Wolverine: Weapon X called “Insane in the Brain” by Jason Aaron. The story goes that Wolverine is trapped in this asylum and he is getting pushed towards madness by this evil guy. Every panel in that book is crooked. It doesn’t look like it if you look at the book, but none of the corners align. Everything is slightly off balance. As you get crazier and crazier, the stuff gets more crooked. There are a few pages where he snaps out of it and he comes to his senses, and then everything is super straight. It is super-subtle. I’m pretty sure nobody really saw that, but they might feel it on the subconscious level.

WOLVERINE DOES THIS LOOK CRAZY

When I do crazy stuff, it is for storytelling purposes. In Swamp Thing, the first script came in from Scott [Snyder], a great script, but pretty down to earth. It was a 10-page script and a guy talking. To me, when I thought about Swamp Thing, I thought of an Alan Moore crazy, wild thing. In my own relationship to Swamp Thing through the years, I discovered, my first artistic love was Berni Wrightson on Swamp Thing. And then I discovered my first love in writing was Alan Moore on Swamp Thing. And then I got to do Swamp Thing. For me it was something personal. It was like coming back home, almost like a full circle. To me, that book had to reflect my past, the past guys who were on Swamp Thing, and my own relationship to comics. I had to put their name in there and also part of their style. The script was very down to earth. So I figured that maybe just the panel layout could be enough to give you a sense that this is not going to be like other comics, it would be pushing forward in trying things in terms of story telling. So I made a code for everything that happened in that story. If the Green is acting on reality, if the Rot is acting on reality, if you are in the Green… When Abigail is there, the panels are not straight. They are more angular because she is more hard edge, now. All sorts of details like that. You can combine, or you can dial down the fact. But they are always aligned with what is happening in the story. It didn’t take that much time that every single thing in Swamp Thing was bizarre, so every single panel was bizarre. You give what you got. It was really freeing.

At first, I did that by doing something different to reflect what Swamp Thing should be. But I wasn’t sure if people would buy it at all. Maybe it was too confusing. There are things that are challenging. But people absolutely loved it. After 2 years, as I am doing my layout for Wonder Woman, I can’t do straight borders. It isn’t the same set of codes, because what I did on Swamp Thing was for Swamp Thing. It is harder to plan with Grant [Morrison] because [Wonder Woman: Earth One] is a long story.  It is hard to see it in its entirety because I don’t have the script for the whole story. It’s hard to plan the element of design. But I try to do other things that I feel are cool.

HC: Your resume is full of work with fantastic writers, even before the New52. Are there any writers who you have worked with at your days with Marvel that you would like to reconnect with?

YP: When I worked with Jason Aaron, that was the absolute best. I’m talking to you Jason! That script was so intelligent. I had fun with Matt Fraction, too. I was lucky enough to do Uncanny X-Men, which was a self-contained story, so I really made that mine. It was very packed with emotion. There were impossibly deep emotional moments. In comics, you can end up having people fighting for 3 or 4 pages. I don’t care for violence; I don’t find it exciting. What I find exciting is these impossible emotions. In that issue of Uncanny X-Men, Dr. Nemesis goes back in the past. He has to meet his mother and father then sees his father dying. His mother is dying, too, but she pregnant, too. So he delivers himself out of his dying mother. He is always pristine white; he is like Mr. Perfect. But the last few pages, he is coming out of his mom’s bedroom with himself in his arms, his coat is full of blood. What are these moments? They are so intense. They give you goose bumps. Swamp Thing was full of those moments, too. There are huge sacrifices. It’s a love story. But it was crazy and weird at the same time with profound moments. I do comics for those moments.

dr nemesis

HC: Let’s talk about Wonder Woman. How does it differ from the monthly series?

YP: First of all, it’s Earth One. So, you know the other Earth One’s, it’s kind of like Marvel’s Ultimates. There are no rules. You can reinvent stuff. Archetypes and elements can come back because they are expected by readers. Because of that, you can play with those. We have free-reign to do whatever we want. Outside of continuity we can do anything. Wonder Woman somehow has a hard time getting a movie for herself or attention beyond the T-shirts and lunch boxes and figurines; to get her to mainstream solo status like she was in the 70’s was very hard. You can do that with Batman or Superman, but not Wonder Woman. People were like, ‘You should do the regular series! She needs help now.’ I love Azzarello’s work. I think it is great. I don’t think she needs that much help in the New52. All the usual revolutions, the big changes for the characters, like Batman for instance, The Dark Knight Returns was not part of the continuity. It was a futuristic story, like an Elseworld. I don’t think Elseworlds existed in the time of Frank Miller. But that thing was so strong, it defined what Batman was. He is now the injured vengeance-ridden kid. Same for Kingdom Come that really rebalanced everything with the DC Universe. If you look at all the films of Marvel, it is not the Thor of the regular series, but it is the Ultimates. It is the Mark Millar work that makes it to the screen. But then again, these alternate stories were so efficient and make so much sense because they have the liberty to redefine what they are in the context of today. Now, even the regular books, which are not the Ultimates, are tainted with the stories of The Avengers, stories of Aaron, and they have all been Ultimate-ized. You almost can’t tell them apart anymore. It is a revolution for a character. Try it outside of the box, and if it is good enough, the box will absorb it.

HC: How does drawing for a script oriented like Scott Snyder on Swamp Thing differ from a writer like Grant Morrison?

YP: It is hard to tell, because I am really proactive as an artist. I’ll take a lot of liberty. I consider my domain to be more than drawing what they ask. I am going to claim some land, for creation purposes. In the case of Scott, at first I had a full script. OK, we are going to do concept drawing – like the panel borders. My job was to tell the story but also push my own graphic agenda. In the case of Grant, Grant will give you a script with very basic dialogue. He will think about the big chunk of concept and all the craziness. Sometimes he locks attention to the little detail. ‘In this scene, these guys need to walk to one place or another,’ just the physicality of the mundane story telling aspect. And you will give this to your artist to make it make sense. You need to trust your artist and to give them some rope. I figure that is why he is always working with the same 5 or 6 guys because he trusts us to bring the kind of script he is giving us to a place where he is satisfied on which he can do the last pass before printing. It is a trusting, touching moment that he gives me so much room. You have to trust him too to bring that ship to the port at the end, because sometimes I’m sending pages and I’m not exactly sure where it is going to land. I trust him the way he trusts me. Because he works with the art finished, he adapts himself to what he gets. In my case, he never asks for redrawing. If I make a decision to fix something that I feel will work better, he doesn’t mind. It is always a work in progress until the last minute. He is always able to react to the art and be creative. As I do a page, I know Grant will make something out of it.

HC: Your first monthly gig was Wonder Woman. The coolest thing I remember about it was the armor with the eagle head.

YP: I did not invent that costume.

HC: I thought I had seen an earlier armor version but not one with the American flag and the eagle helmet.

YP: It’s been a while. I know that in that run of Wonder Woman, I did invent the Fortress of Solitude with the huge flying coliseum with animals in there and armor galleries. It was the new Invisible Plane, because that thing could turn invisible also. I remember designing that. Maybe I updated the armor, but I wonder if it wasn’t Adam Hughes who did it for the cover. Or maybe it’s a spin on an Alex Ross design. It’s funny that today I get to do Wonder Woman again after all these years in probably the most different context possible. Back then, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just trying to learn in front of everyone. A lot of those pages are like [he groans]. The idea was just to get the stuff done on time. That was the challenge of the day. Learning the craft. Getting my stuff done on time. There are a lot of pages in there that I am not proud of. But I was unknown, so that was the deal. Now I have the chance to represent the character, but with no deadline, and prestige format, with a massive writer. Now I know exactly what I am supposed to me. I am fully armed and geared for the process. I am going to redeem myself.

HC: DC Collectibles is releasing a Wonder Woman Art of War statue in the image of your Wonder Woman in October. Did you have a hand in the 3D design for that?

YP: Yeah, I did the design. So, I did the turnaround. Funny thing, though – that costume that I designed for Wonder Woman, not to spoil any of the story itself, but she came to the island with that design from the man’s world. Most of the story is a flashback from before that where she doesn’t wear that. I don’t know how that is going to play out. There are still a few pages to come that I have to draw still. It might very well turn out that the design for the statue is like two pages worth of what is going on in that book. She actually wears another costume. I designed that a long time ago, way before I had a decent chunk of script. If I had to redesign it again, I might have used the version I’m using in the book, which is a little different. But yeah, I did the turnaround. That was my first statue. I had no idea how to do it.

yanick statue

HC: It’s cool to see that you actually had a hand in designing.

YP: Because it is a statue, they ask the artist ‘Can you figure out a pose? Can you figure out a design?’ Action figures [are different]. They did a huge Swamp Thing with the wings. It is a massive toy. They sent me a box of those that made me pretty happy. But that, I had nothing to do with. All the design is obviously mine. There is a page in Issue #8 when he is coming down at the Rot with the wings. It is a massive toy. It is bigger than everyone. It is part of the New52 set of toys. I don’t know the scale, but Swamp Thing is just a monster so he goes in the massive monster box.

Swamp Thing Wings

HC: I know everyone is asking you when the book is coming out. Can we assume that since the Wonder Woman statue is coming out in October, there might be something around the corner?

YP: No. I haven’t done all the pages. I have good chunks of stuff to do. I feel like October might come a bit too soon. Maybe DC’s promotional department might want to gather a bunch of Earth One’s together for a big event. I know Gary [Frank] has another Batman [Earth One] going and there’s another Superman going. I think it is in their ballpark. They will find a way to sell that thing at an appropriate moment. I have a feeling that it might be at the very beginning of 2015. My goal is to finish it this year. I have been on it too long. I over-think. Working with a flexible deadline, I am doing my best. At the end of the day, the extra perfection that I have managed to put in there is the one that takes the most time. Without it, I would have totally done the book super fast and nobody would recognize there is a little…  If I would just give it up, nobody would care, except for me. I could make that book super fast. That’s the problem with a long deadline, I want to do the best and then it takes even more time.

HC: Working on a non-monthly book, it must allow for a more balanced lifestyle. We were wondering what hobbies you have on the side?

YP: I do travel a lot. I do a lot of conventions. That’s what I do. I used to do a lot of music. I write music and record it. There is some stuff online.

HC: I actually fell asleep to the Swamp Thing soundtrack last night.

YP: The Swamp Thing is a more orchestral film soundtrack. When I write serious stuff it’s mostly string quartets. But I’ve been writing a long time. With convention schedules, you travel and then come home and then I’m exhausted. Then I have to do two or three pages. It’s just a lot. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll say yes to too many people in terms of shows this year. But I will survive and I will take it as a warning.

HC: How did you get into writing music?

YP: It was a hobby when I was a kid, reading and writing music. In my teens I would write stuff. The things I really enjoy, there is no market. Classical or Baroque music – nobody cares for that. I went into Biology first and then I had a reality check and figured it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I considered Music for about an hour and half and then I went into comics instead. I may have ended up doing a movie score or having an orchestra. But there are so many good guys in movie scores; it’s such a huge market. I didn’t want to do jingles for advertising. I figure I will keep my music as pure as I want with no compromise. I’ll do my own thing for myself. I don’t need the public for that. I’ve posted it online because people have said, ‘You should post it online. It’s funny.’ But it’s for me really. And with the comic aspect, I’ll play ball a little bit more. And I did at first. Now I’m pickier with what I want. And maybe because I can do whatever I want in comics, I don’t feel the need to write music anymore.

HC: You have worked on a lot of established franchises. We wanted to know if you had any interest in doing something creator owned for an independent publisher or are you with DC forever?

YP: Honestly, I am looking for a creator owned in a very serious way. As I look at the industry now, DC and Marvel, every book you do, you can rest assured that the next book, even though you do your best the book is going to sell less. They are never going to sell more unless you kill a character or you put Jim Lee in the book. Every book will sell less than the one before. That trend has been going on with every single book of DC and Marvel for the past 5 or 10 years. The only places where I actually see growth is in the independent. Granted they start lower, so they have room to go up, but they do. They offer something different, something fresh. A few years ago when people would come in with a portfolio who were prime for DC, I would push them to try Image or do something independent and then come back to DC with that name. Now I am seeing the opposite. Get to DC or Marvel and make a name for yourself, then go to Image and cash in. Do something you own. From that point of view, if I would do something at Image and sell five times less, but do more money and do whatever I want. I don’t have anything against spandex and superheroes. I’ve done it a lot and enjoyed it as a kid. But it is a limited a genre. After a while you have told the story you wanted to tell. Spandex guy punching another spandex guy. I have done all the angles. I want to tell other kinds of stories. In other media, in movies or books, you get all different stories and they sell to different markets. But comics have been trapped into one mainstream, one little type of fiction. It makes no sense. But now Horror is coming again, I may not want to do pure Horror stuff.  I won’t tell what I am looking into because I am not sure myself. I think the typing is good with miracles like The Walking Dead. Which is a fluke. You can’t say, ‘[In his best American accent] Oh! I’m just gonna do The Walking Dead. That seems like a profitable business plan.’ It’s a fluke! It’s something weird. But what happened is that people in the mainstream, and when I say mainstream, it’s not comic mainstream. This is not mainstream. This is a little bubble of weird geeks. The true world realizes that The Walking Dead came from a book. They enter into a comic book store with no geek preconception about qualities of DC and Marvel and the rest are amateurs. They don’t care for that. They’ll look and maybe by Chew or Saga. The readership has expanded. That is why The Walking Dead and some of these independent books are getting good numbers because it is fresh readership. It is fresh blood. It is people from the outside world coming and seeing that we are doing something that kind of makes sense.

HC: Our wrap up question is, what can fans except to see you in soon and where is the best place to reach you?

YP: I’ll be Charlotte this coming weekend. I’ll probably do New York. I will be in Portland this year, too. I will be in Malta for the Italian people who may read this. I’ll be in Argentina. There is a show in Montreal. I’ll drop by there and say hello. I am fairly easy to reach over Twitter and Facebook. I am pretty well-versed in the Web 2.0. [Also check out his DeviantArt page to see some of his beautiful commissions!]

 

Paquette Interview 1

 

 

 

Denver Comic Con 2014- Cosplay… Cosplay Contest Shindig!

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While the Cosplay on the show floor did not disappoint, the Cosplay Party hosted on Saturday night was a winner!  Check out all the costumes below:

Comic Book Reviews 06-11-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

Detective Comics #32 – A

It’s official! Batman now has TWO good books. This Icarus storyline combines all the aspects you’d expect in a story about the world’s greatest detective. It feels like an Adam West-helmed episode, with the gadgets, and the deductive thought process, but with a modern and accessible twist that doesn’t feel campy or over-the-top. I mean, when you can fight a giant squid and still feel realistically engaging, you’re doing a good job. We also get a look at the lighter side of Harvey Bullock, who we come to find is an unapologetic crazy cat lady. Kudos to this new creative team for giving me complete faith in Detective Comics for however long their run lasts. – Sherif

 

Other Reviews:

DC/Vertigo:

Superman/Wonder Woman #9 – B+

With the continuation of the Doomed storyline we enter the next chapter of Supermans battle with himself. The atmosphere has been contaminated with Kryptonite that is slowly taking away Clarks ability to control the Doomsday inside of him. While this issue has mainly focused on that inner struggle, as usual I feel like the spotlight is on how much of a badass Wonder Woman still is. My least favorite people in the world besides Arsenal, the Red Lanterns, show up and make a cameo. The whole battle with them is short-lived and I could have done without it. This was mostly filler but it had a few essential pieces of info. – Robert

Batgirl #32 – C+

Everything about this issue bored me except for the last panel. It really isn’t a spoiler but I won’t say anything just the same, however it does excite me that they seem to be changing the formula up a bit. I do hope that they will steer clear of the one-shot villains that are lame and have no depth or staying power. I would also like to see a little bit more of the female talon as she made for an interesting dynamic with Barbara. This is the first issue of a new story arc so there wasn’t much going on except for the setup. – Robert

Batman Eternal #10 – C

(+) More filler but we are given yet another teaser at the end. The plot continues to thicken but we aren’t really given any clues as to the endgame in store for this series. Something about the art changed this issue and I can say that in some panels I am definitely not a fan. There is also the inclusion of Julia Pennyworth from last issue. I am curious as to her backstory and how she will come to play in the future. Perhaps we will have another character to add to the Bat family after the departure of Dick Grayson. – Robert

(-) Ugh. Not a fan. First of all, this stand-in artist they got, Riccardo Burchielli? Awful. I mean, it’s not bad art by any means, but it’s probably the worst style I’ve seen for Batman since I can remember. This issue would have gone down smoother if Scott Synder drew it. It’s really distracting from the actual story, which is doing it self no favors here. I miss the direction Grant Morrison took Pyg in – the psycho surgeon, not the Rob Zombie meets Human Centipede doctor. There is a neat hint that Stephanie Brown will be reprising The Spoiler, but it’s marred by an awful pun. This book is drowning in stock, and shoving more filler down my throat isn’t keeping me engaged. Please don’t be another throw-away series. – Sherif

 

IDW Comics:

Rocky & Bullwinkle #4 – B

Although this series may not be for a lot of comic readers it always pleases me to see new Dudley Do-Right. The artwork is up with all the past issues and you can expect a bunch of modern references through out the issue showing that although we may not have seen them, Rocky & Bullwinkle were around the whole time we thought that they may have been gone for good. – Jacob

Dexter’s Laboratory #3 – B-

What happened to Dee Dee? Will Dexter survive in a land of Dee Dee? We won’t find out either really in this issue but it still is a delightful read for fans of the series. We even get a cameo from the 2 Stupid Dogs! The artwork as usual is wonderful and always looks as if Genndy Tartakovsky is doing all the work himself. The only things with these animated show comics is they stick to old fans because not many people are going to become new fans from these stories. So although enjoyable it is best enjoyed when knowing the material from the past. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

Shutter #3 – A-

This series is so great! Wondrous, full of crazy, new ideas – if you’re open to new ideas, there is no reason not to pick  this book up. I mean, any book that can turn The Busy World of Richard Scarry into cold-blooded killers deserves a look. Giant fox warriors riding Triceratops? I’m still not exactly sure where this book is about, but we’re slowing chipping away at the bigger story here. Only three issues in and we’ve been running around like crazy, revealing plot points only when necessary, but mostly meeting all the crazy character that make the story go round. This book is going to be big; I can feel it in my bones. – Sherif

The Walking Dead #128 – C+

After a giant shocker of an issue in #127, there’s a little more reveal here. This new group, who is going through the same initiation that Rick and Co. did when they first arrived in Alexandria, brings about a nice sense of nostalgia. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I suppose. Everybody has kind of gotten back to life as usual, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this group drag a few skeletons out of the closet before this arc is over – including one very loose end hiding in the basement. Like so many single issues of TWD was come to be, they seem like filler when read by themselves, but overall, the complete revamp of the series has me interested for more. – Sherif

 

Marvel:

All-New X-Men #28 – B+

The fight is on and Xavier’s son is going all in against Jean Grey, psychically.  These future X-Men have ben a pain in the ass, and their assault is challenging the rest of the X-Men. The story is definitely confusing if you haven’t been following All-New from the beginning, but there is a bigger story starting to open up. Perhaps my favorite part of the story has been the re-evolution of Jean Grey, who is picking up new tricks that she never learned before the Phoenix took over. I love this second lease at life for Jean Grey, and can’t wait to see how she continues to evolve. – Sherif

Wolverine #8 – B+

The cat is a outta the bag and people know that Wolverine isn’t a bad guy anymore. That whole plot seemed awfully short lived considering they took four issues to tell the readers about it. Wolverine has decided to go a spiritual journey to rediscover martial arts and lose his fear of death. The headline for this issue is “Three Months to Die”. I know it has never been done before but I don’t really see why they need to kill him. I guess the countdown has begun but they did hint at the possibility of immortality this issue. – Robert

Hulk #4 – B

This series got off to a rough start. A bullet lodged in Bruce Banner’s brain had left the man a complete invalid, while the monster inside was unaffected. Steve Rogers puts it best in this issue when he wonders how Maria Hill took S.H.I.E.L.D.’s mightiest weapon and broke it. This issue has some pretty awesome Hulk ass-kickery, courtesy of Hulk getting ahold of Cap’s vibranium shield. There’s still some question about where the series is going in the grand scheme of things, but I had a lot of fun reading this particular issue. – Sherif

Amazing Spider-Man #1.2 – B-

The 1.whatever story arc, Learning to Crawl is a fun, nostalgic look back to the simpler times of Peter Parker, before he had a rogues gallery capable of destroying cities and murdering loved ones. As a way to make some cash on the side, Parker is doing entertainment gigs. He attracts the attention of a young, rich loner who idolizes Spidey to a dangerous level, even crafting his own costume and calling himself Clash. One misunderstanding and this Stan turns straight psycho, vowing revenge on Spider-Man. There’s not a lot whole developing outside of that, but it’s refreshing to see a new villain forming, and the old style of writing is, at worst, amusing. – Sherif

Original Sins #1 – C

The Original Sins books are different than the regular Original Sin issues. In Original Sins we get multiple short stories in one issue that connect to Original Sin. In this issue we get a story about Deathlok, the second is about the Young Avengers and the last is a real short one about Lockjaw. It is kind of cool to collect how smaller characters within the Marvel Universe connect to the much larger Original Sin story line. The artwork is all different artists for each story as well as the writers of course. Much like the regular tie in issues, these stories don’t connect much to the storyline but are a fun addition for those fans who like the B-list heroes of Marvel. – Jacob

 

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

 

Diggin’ Through the Crates: Ras Kass “Whut Part of the Game”

Song: “Whut Part of the Game”

Artist: Ras Kass (featured on Killah Priest’s song)

Album: View from Masada (2000)

Lyric: “I’m live evil, I know live people/Anxious to bang ya with heavy metal like Magneto”

 

Character Reference/Meaning:

You would think that Magneto would be a reference that you’d see a lot more of in Hip-Hop. After all, in the grand scheme of the Mutant Civil Rights debate, Magneto is often referred to as the X-Men version of Malcolm X. Both believed that their people should not be bowing down to the populous and assimilate, but rather that their people should be proud of their differences. However, the militant mindset of both leaders led them to conflict with their peaceful counterparts who would rather integrate themselves into the current way of life (Malcolm X with MLK Jr. and Magneto with Professor X). Magneto even calls his band of outcasts the Brotherhood, a reflection of Malcolm X’s famous quote, “I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me.” Throughout the years, Magneto ended up fighting against his good friend, Charles Xavier – something that both hate doing and ultimately made them ineffective against the ill will and violence created. Unfortunately, because these were the 60’s and every story needed a clear-cut protagonist and antagonist, the Brotherhood were always painted as the bad guys. It took until the late 1980s to early 1990’s for Magneto to really develop as a complex character.

He stopped mutant experimentations, destroyed Sentinel research (find more on their Hip-Hop relevance here) and even tried segregating them from humans on Utopia. Erik Lehnsherr, as he’s often referred to, isn’t even his real name; it’s one he adopted after escaping a concentration camp. Where Professor X grew up in a loving environment, whereas Max Eisenhardt (read X-Men: The Magneto Testament for that crazy story) grew up in Nazi Germany, where he was forced into a concentration camp and his family was murdered. It’s no wonder why he is willing to win the war for mutants’ rights, “by any means necessary.” The community can go back and forth on this debate, but there’s no nobody that can debate just how monstrously powerful Magneto is.

Word to Ras Kass for recognizing one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel U. His ability to control metal has been crafted to brutal perfection. Along with using metal objects small and large to murder his enemies, he has accomplished far beyond that. To date, Magneto has: turned invisible by wrapping light around his body (Vision and the Scarlet Witch #4), teleported himself through a wormhole he created (Excalibur #8), telepathically resisted Professor X and Emma Frost (Uncanny X-Men #521), and even stopped time itself when he froze the X-Men in place by controlling the body’s electrochemistry (Uncanny X-Men #304). Most devastatingly, Magneto got so pissed off at Wolverine that he ripped the adamantium straight off his skeleton. You do not want to piss this guy off.

You may have seen X-Men and you may have seen X-Men: First Class, but you don’t know Magneto. Forget Michael Fassbender. Forget Ian McKellen. Magneto is the baddest, most powerful mutant of all time. 20th Century Fox may have spent millions to show his prowess, but nothing is doing a better job of that then the new series, written by Cullen Bunn and drawn by Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Currently on issue #5, Magneto has been a non-stop rampage to emancipate his people from being experimented on. Wiping out hordes of humans with everyday, household items on the regular, you shouldn’t get in Magneto’s way.

Comic Book Reviews 06-04-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #3 – B+

This book reminds me so much of Afro Samurai, and I love it. The gritty and violent tone, the way the panels are organized, right down to the old-timey page creases drawn down the middle, Iron First feels like the book we all wanted it to be. Already three issues in, and we have just gotten a taste of what to expect. Another flashback to Danny’s origin means additional clarity on how this story will unfold. It’s not the greatest book out, but it’s different and awesome enough to keep me eagerly reading. – Sherif

I don’t know much about Iron Fist, so this issue was sort of a treat for me. We are given more of the background story but not many questions are answered from the last two issues. I know that it is only a matter of time before they answer everything but I wish they would focus on answering some questions for new readers instead of creating many more each issue. The best part about this issue is the way they use the art to show the flow of Iron Fist’s kung fu. I would love to see more Kung Fu sequences like this. – Robert

Other Reviews:

 DC/Vertigo:

Batman Eternal #9 – B+

Just when you think that the story has gotten a bit stagnant, they go ahead and throw in a total curve ball in the very last panel. I won’t ruin it but I also don’t know quite what to make of it either. Things haven’t really developed on the “why” everything is happening as quickly as I would have thought. These last few issues are setting up for what seems to be a major climax. I still think we will see the death of Jim Gordon. This was still a pretty good issue and watching Batman pummel people through the whole issue is always a pleasure. – Robert

Green Arrow #32 – B-

I can’t help but feel like these last few issues, with regards to his city, and this new story arc are nothing but a rip off from Batman just not done nearly as well. I read this after reading the new Batman Eternal and the whole time I couldn’t help but feel like I had just read this. I do like seeing Arrow in action and the reintroduction of a character from a few issues ago could make for an interesting change of pace. This is just the beginning of a new arc and with the introduction of Diggle, who knows what’s in store for the future. – Robert

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #34 – B-

Metalhead is here! One of the classic and well-loved characters all fans know has made its debut in this issue with a change in his origin as well. Not a whole lot happens in this issue and although we see Metalhead for the first time and Old Hob and Slash return, it is a rather slow issue, as it seems 80% of it is getting us to meet and then defeat a malfunctioning Metalhead. Mateus Santolouco is as always awesome with his art and the new design for Metal head is a great reference to the past while also updating it for the times. If you read the series or are a TMNT fan then of course read the issue but ultimately this may be one to miss for those not already enthralled into the Turtles universe. – Jacob

Marvel:

Magneto #5 – B

I will always root for Magneto. This gritty book has finally taken a break from the insane amount of murder to bring in a new element. A woman has been trailing him for quite some time and seems to have studied everything about him. He doesn’t trust her, but against his better judgment, he decides to hear her out since she has something Magneto really wants. Magneto doesn’t seem to be a team player, so this pair up can only end in disaster. The ending gives a whole lot away, but left me with many more questions than answers. I am absolutely pining for the next issue! – Sherif

Not much has happened this issue but they are taking the time to try and flesh out Magneto’s character and trying to make us feel like he isn’t a “bad guy”. The setup for this next arc was actually rather confusing to me. Even with the introduction and the little bit of backstory they gave us, I am not really sure of the motivations of this new “sidekick” of Magneto’s. This issue was a bit of filler but I’m sure it is a setup for more badassery. – Robert

Original Sin #3 – B

This story sure is getting crazy now. If the Orb at the end of the last issue wasn’t enough to have you scream, “what the hell is going on?!,” then this issue will make sure and have you doing just that. Heroes now know everyone elses deepest secrets (or Original Sins) and things have disbanded after the Watcher being murdered. As far as the main part of this series goes, the art is very dark and filled with shadows making it almost feel like Marvels takes on their heroes in a film noir style. I may not know the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a lot of tings in this series but it does have my attention enough to figure out how these obscure villains got the run around on the Watcher. – Jacob

Amazing X-Men #8 – B-

Okay, okay. Maybe I was a bit too harsh on Amazing. To my defense, the last issue was really, really bad. Issue #8 is a good nudge back in the right direction, though. Ed McGuinness takes over pencilling duties again, and it’s a sight for sore eyes. Meanwhile, the new writing team of Craig Kyle and Chris Yost bring back the Wendigos. Back in Uncanny X-Men #140, it took Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Alpha Flight and more just to subdue the beast. Now there are a whole pack of them. The story needs some more explaining, but I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going. – Sherif

Cyclops #2 – C+

Star Wars meets Pirates of the Caribbean is the best way to describe this series so far. I actually like it more for its similarities to Star Wars than the whole “Space Pirates” thing they are trying to achieve. This whole series kind of feels like it takes away some of the things that make Cyclops special. Watching him as a teenager who is playing second string to his father, all the while not having developed yet makes me wonder how this whole thing will affect the entire Marvel Universe. – Robert

Loki: Agent of Asgard #5 – C-

While I’ll admit I’m just getting into the world of Marvel, I haven’t been super impressed by this series as of yet. It’s interesting to see Loki in this new light, but the plot seems scattered issue to issue and number five is no exception. It feels rushed to say the least. Loki uses the characters he has at his disposal (Thor, Lorelei, Verity Willis, and Sigurd) to break into the most guarded prison in Asgard (which was way too easily breached for my taste), then just sort of dumps them while he carries out his own mission alone. That mission? It ends abruptly with meager dialogue and didn’t make me excited for the next issue. I love Loki as a character, so I hope the writers can step up to the plate and give him the story he deserves as this series progresses. – Charlotte

 

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

“Respect My Craft” – Neal Adams

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

 

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Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 “Respect My Craft” articles

 

Name: Neal Adams

Profession: Comic Book Artist

Notable WorkBatman, Green Lantern, Superman vs. Muhammad Ali

“That’s the difference between DC and Marvel comics: all the characters at DC, because of their history, were all all sparkly-tooth Americans; they smiled, they had good jobs, they had secret identities. At Marvel, Jack [Kirby] convinced Stan [Lee] that the four characters who would go off into specae, be bombarded by cosmic rays, and come back as monsters. All [the Marvel stars] were essentially monsters turned into superheroes. Over at DC we had golden-toothed heroes. Even the new guys: test pilot, lab scientist. It’s still the difference between the two companies. When people talk about Spider-Man and his personality problems, it’s all part of the monster side of the superhero genre as opposed to DC. Batman is the closest to the Marvel characters that DC has.” – Neal Adams

 

Neal Adams is still a juggernaut in the comic book industry for nearly 60 years. The amazing artist may not have gotten to Batman until over thirty years into his inception, but he and Denny O’Neil’s portrayal has shaped the way the character has been portrayed since. His story started with being initially rejected when he tried to get with DC Comics. Adams ended up working at Johnstone & Cushing, doing comic book advertising (something he’s continued to do with his company Continuity Associates). After that, Adams found some work pencilling for Archie, then drew the Ben Casey comic strip with creator Jerry Capp, based off the medical drama TV series.

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This experience, and his connections with Capp, helped serve him as ghost-artist for a few different series, including Peter Scratch, written by Jerry’s brother, Elliot Caplin. He was eventually offered a gig on The Green Berets, a war story, but turned the book down because it was set in Vietnam, during a time when he and many Americans were opposed to the war in Vietnam. This was more a political statement about the Vietnam War specifically, as Adams was a fan of war books, in general. A lot of DC’s books were war-related at the time, and it was something that Adams enjoyed. His gritty and rough action sequences made him a great fit.

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From there, he did covers and mini-segments for various late Silver Age titles like Action Comics and Detective Comics, which gave him a reputation for doing a lot of covers. Eventually, he was given his first full superhero issue, World’s Finest #175. Adams was even asked to redraw a Teen Titans story, where creator Marv Wolfman was planning to create DC’s first black superhero, Jericho. The idea was shot down by Carmine Infantino, and Neal Adams came in to clear the air. DC was notoriously conservative at the time, whereas Marvel already several black superheroes. Adams decided to try his hand at Marvel, while still freelancing at DC. He found the company “more friendly, a lot more real” and enjoyed that they executives there “were not as oppressed as the people at National were.”

DC wasn’t about to let their All-Star walk to Marvel, so they gave Adams the opportunity to work with writer Denny O’Neil. The two would go on as one of the greatest tag teams in comic books. Their work on The Avengers, X-MenGreen LanternThe Flash and, of course, Batman. Their portrayal of the Dark Knight made a sharp turn from light and campy to dark and grave. The Batman we know today is a direct descendant of the work those two men did.

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One of my favorite stories they did  was the Green Lantern/Green Arrow arc. After being the artist that gave Oliver Queen his patented facial hair, the superhero duo tackled real issues and ushered in an era of more humanizing characters. Drug addiction was explored in the shocking Green Lanern #85, where it was revealed that Speedy (Green Arrow’s sidekick) was a drug addict. Adams and O’Neil also wrote from everything from pollution to racism, making it a highly-relatable book – but not necessarily a high-selling book. After the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series was cut, Neal Adams moved onto some big projects. He worked on the very first inter-company book, Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man in 1976. Another crossover of his that was very well-received was Superman vs. Muhammad Ali. The book took the hero out of the pages at put him against a real life icon, humanizing him even more, which is ironic for an alien. To really put him in the realm of real-life heroes, Adams gave the intricate cover a personal touch, including celebrities, superheroes and political figures adorning the background. The cover was so iconic that it was altered to include Michael Jordan vs. Muhammad Ali in 2000.

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Following this book, Adams formed Continuity Comics, an independent publisher where he could really flex his creative muscle. The company lasted over a decade, and created dozens of titles. Having his own company meant that Adams and his team weren’t held back by censorship, so violence and eroticism were a staple in the series. Continuity also got caught up in the variant craze of the early 90’s, packaging issues with glow-in-the-dark, chrome-plated, and hologram covers. Some of the issues contained posters, trading cards or stickers. Awesome for fans, bad for business. Continuity didn’t make quite the splash some of the other independent published did in the 90’s, but it was still a dream come true for Adams.

Recently, Adams has been working on Batman mini-series. In 2011, he wrote and pencilled Batman: Odyssey, a twelve-issue run that took the Dark Knight back to his early 70’s roots. He also was featured in the newest Batman: Black & White, a compilation of short stories. Neal’s story was about an awesome-looking zombie Batman. It’s even getting its own Black and White statue.

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Comic books aren’t Neal Adam’s only passion. He is also a huge science buff, and has a website and YouTube channel dedicated to his thoughts and research, attributed to the work of geologist Samuel Warren Carey and his theory of an expanding Earth. There’s some really heavy stuff in there, and even if you don’t agree with the theory, there’s some certified science in there, and it took Adams 30 years to grasp the concept on a scientific level. There’s a lot to learn from this man, at and away from the drawing table.

Neal Adams is a legend. He’s won multiple awards for his art, and has been inducted into the Will Eisner and Jack Kirby halls of fame. With Denny O’Neil, he helped create the modern ethos of Batman, and helped initiate comic books into the Bronze era. On top of all that, he’s a pretty swell guy! He’s been to every comic book convention we’ve attended, and he always has a great story to tell, not to mention one of the coolest merchandise tables of any artist attending. Lucky for us, Mile High Comics will be hosting a pre-Denver Comic Con party in just over a week, and Neal Adams will be there.

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None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties. Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with Star Trek: The Next Generation star and Fact or Fiction: Beyond Belief host, Jonathan Frakes.

So Far This Week…June 4th, 2014

GET OVER HERE!!!! Neatherrealm Studios has announced Mortal Kombat X. The trailer is ridiculous. Soon enough, you can be murdering all your friends on your next-gen consoles.

You can’t count on Jonh Constantine, but you can count on NBC’s Constantine to hit the small screen in October.

You’ve heard it time and time again. This is Batman’s 75th Anniversary as a character. DC logic says, “How about a crap-ton of variant covers?” Done.

If you really want to be a Dothraki, you need to learn how to speak Dothraki using an official language course. Could Dothraki be the new Klingon?

Another year, another Apple iOS announcement. The newest buzz at WDCC is over iOS8 and Apple HomeKit. Check it out if you care.

There’s a new Dragonball Z movie coming out in theaters this August. The recent comeback through Kai and the DVD releases have created quite the buzz. In the new film, titled Battle of the Gods, is the first Dragonball Z movie to be canon, and takes place after the defeat of Majin Buu.

Gwendoline Christie from Game of Thrones and Lupita Nyongo from 12 Years A Slave will be joining the Star Wars: Episode VII cast.

Speaking of, JJ Abrams is getting really tired of your shit, TMZ. He wishes people would just leave the movie alone and enjoy it when it comes out. Here, here!

Guardians of the Galaxy LEGOs!

Stephen Colbert grows bad-ass Tony Stark-like mustache to support billionaires.

Batman: Arkham Knight has been delayed until next year. It does make me sad, but I want this last game to be the best it can be, so delay away! There is, however, a little eye candy to take the pain of the delay away. Plus, Far Cry 4 will keep me busy all winter long.

 

RoboCop Day is really a thing in Detroit.

Jubilee and Cable considered for X-Men Days of Future Past. Awesome, more mutants to include in the movie that would have shared none of the spotlight.

Movie history is being made, you guys. For the first time ever, the top three movies of the year are comic book titles. Thanks for millions of nerds flocking to the theaters, the three best selling movies of 2014 are: Captain America: The Winter SoldierAmazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Hercules! Hercules! (Nutty Professor voice) Check out The Rock in the newest trailer for Hercules.

 

 

The Fault in Our Stars Movie Review

Genre – Drama/Romance

Director – Josh Boone

Cast – Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolf

Alluring element –  Based on the New York Times Best Selling novel by award winning author and noted nerd, John Green.

Scorecard:
Plot – 9
Acting – 8
Representation of Genre – 8
Cinematography – 7
Effects/Environment – 7
Captivity – 9
Logical consistency – 8
Originality/Creativity – 9
Soundtrack/Music – 9
Overall awesomeness – 9
 

I was lucky enough to see an advance screen of The Fault in Our Stars last week and I am still dizzy from the emotions it surfaced for me. I’ll admit that I am a bit biased when it comes to this movie. The Fault in Our Stars is my favorite book and it means a great deal to me, personally. Author John Green shares a YouTube Channel with his brother Hank called “The Vlogbrothers,” of which I am a massive fan. Their fans are called Nerdfighters (fighting for nerds, not against them) and they are some of the most passionate, intelligent, caring people you will ever meet. While writing the novel, John documented his progress as well as read the first two chapters to his fans via Livestream before the book was even published. The Nerdfighters were even able to catch a mistake in the book before it was printed. So when I say I’ve been with this story since the beginning, I mean the very beginning. Seeing this story finally hit the big screen feels like a triumph.

Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is an atypical teenager living with cancer, oxygen tank trailing forever behind her. While medication and frequent doctors visits have extended her life quite a bit, she is very much aware that she is dying. After being deemed depressed by both her mother and doctor, Hazel begins attending a cancer support group. It is here that she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a charismatic, sly, metaphoric loving cancer survivor determined to make his mark on the world. Together they find “a forever within the numbered days,” a love that transcends their illness, and an adventure that makes them both feel infinitely alive whilst on the border of death.

Lovers of the novel will be extremely satisfied with the adaptation. Countless scenes have dialogue directly pulled from the book. The casting could not be more perfect. I personally can not see anyone but Shailene Woodley playing Hazel and Ansel Elgort makes the perfect Augustus. While the movie was actually shot in Pittsburgh, set designers and cinematographers were able to make it feel very much like Indiana, scouring out every flat piece of land they could find and recreating the sculpture “Funky Bones”with such detail that the original curator Sarah Green couldn’t tell the difference. Watching the film felt like reading the book all over again. The few scenes they cut I didn’t even notice until later watching an interview with John Green. It is clear that the people behind the movie cared for the book just as much as it’s diehard fans.

While Augustus may be “on a roller coaster than only goes up,” this film takes its audience for an emotionally diverse ride, so much so that DFTBA.com sells a “TFIOS Preparedness Kit” – tissues included. Witty dialogue and ingenious timing create a laughable atmosphere throughout the movie, allowing the audience to believe everything is going to be okay just long enough that when things take a turn for the worse, it cuts all the deeper. However, despite how much the movie made me cry, I still wouldn’t classify it as a sad movie. The Fault in Our Stars is just as much about life as it is about sickness and death. The characters are joyful through much of the film. They are falling in love with each other and with life, despite how little time they have left. In fact, it may because of their mortality that they are able to do this so freely. One thing should be made clear; this is not a cancer story. Yes, it’s a love story about two kids with cancer. Yes, Hazel’s oxygen tank and Augustus’prosthetic leg makes it abundantly clear they’re ill. Still, The Fault in Our Stars is a story about people faced with their own mortality and the mortality of their loved ones. It’s about laying things clean and dry on the table to stop beating around the bush. It’s about two young adults realizing that this life is all they are going to get and that that’s just fine. Their lives are not perfect, in fact they’re far from, but they are still lives that demands to be lived to their fullest. This is a story about overcoming pain and finding joy despite it. This is not a cancer story.

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The soundtrack alone could warrant a review. Ranging from big names like Ed Sheeran and Birdy to lesser known, but just as talented artists such as Afasi and Filthy, the album’s mood fluctuates similarly to the film but still manages to be cohesive. “Bomfelleralla,” a personal favorite of mine, may be the only song that doesn’t seem to quite fit until you see the film. It’s plucked directly out of a scene where Van Houten (Willem Dafoe) plays the song for Hazel and Augustus.

The Fault in Our Stars is an important story because it shows that cancer patients are not their illness and have lives outside it. It shows sickness in a light we rarely get to see. So often we look at someone with a cannula and all we see is their sickness. We visualize them as “the other”when they are very much just like us. The Fault in Our Stars breaks down this “otherness”with a story about two lovers who are like every other couple. They just happen to have cancer.

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The film comes out June 6th but if you hurry, you can see it early. Theaters all over the US are hosting “The Night Before the Stars”where audiences can see the film the day before it comes out as well as a following livestream including cast members Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Nat Wolff (who plays Issac) , Author John Green, Director Josh Boone, Producer Wyck Godfrey, and performances from Birdy and Nat and Alex Wolff. Attendees will also receive a commemorative charm bracelet and exclusive movie poster. Tickets are $25 and going fast.

Even if you haven’t read the book (though I sincerely recommend you do) The Fault in Our Stars is a film you will find yourself thinking about long after the credits roll. From the brilliant cast to the heart wrenching plot, this film is destined to be a Summer hit.

 
All photos belong to 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics

We Can Do It! Mystique

“We Can Do It!: Women in Comics, Television and Beyond” is Hush Comics’ answer to what women in comics mean to the world and to us  Visit our page every Monday to learn about a new super lady!

Who:

Mystique

Nicknames/Aliases:

Raven Darkhölme, Foxx, Raven Wagner, and everyone she has shapeshifted into.

Skills:

Shapeshifting, Super Healing, Agelessness, speaks over fourteen languages, and can fight, like, really well.

Origin Story:

This is probably the trickiest “Origin Story” section I have had to write.  The thing about Mystique, one of the most infamous mutants in Marvel’s X-Men history, she is Mystique.  That wasn’t a typo, either.  The Oxford English Dictionary (yeah, I went there) defines “mystique” as, “A fascinating aura of mystery, awe, and power surrounding someone or something.”  So that being said, her origins are a little… mysterious.  It is unknown exactly when she was born, but we do know she is well over 100 years old.  Mystique, or Raven Darkhölme, ran around with (ok, they had a full blown lesbian relationship) fellow mutant Destiny aka Irene Adler, a precognitive from Austria.  Destiny sought out Mystique’s help around 1900 after witnessing many horrific events yet to pass and going blind in the process.  Their goal was to change the future together.  However, both women found that trying to change events was near impossible, and instead decided to achieve individual success.  Together, they formed the second Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  It is Mystique’s Brotherhood that Kitty Pryde stops in the comic version of “Days of Future Past.”   Contrary to popular belief (which is no doubt because of all the other media versions of Mystique), she is not a disciple of Magneto.  Mystique is a super villain in and of herself.  Notably, Mystique is the mother of many pivotal characters in X-Men.  With Sabretooth, while posing as German spy Leni Zauber, she birthed a boy named Graydon Creed.  When she found out he was not a mutant, she abondoned him. He grew up to be a politician, one who ran on an anti-mutant campaign.  Before his election, Mystique killed him.  Mystique also gave birth to Nightcrawler with Azazel.  Nightcrawler is an important member of the X-Men.  After giving birth to him, Mystique and Nightcrawler were ran out of town because of his demon-like appearance.  She abandoned him, too.  Later, Mystique and Destiny found a young girl who was scared and alone in the woods.  This girl was a mutant named Rogue.  Mystique and Destiny raised her for years.  Rogue was a member of the Brotherhood before switching allegiances to Professor X.  Eventually, Mystique joined the Freedom Force and worked with the government to detain mutants.  She then became an X-Man, promising to help Charles Xavier in exchange for protection.  However, she reneged on the deal, posing as Foxx to seduce Gambit, her daughter Rogue’s boyfriend.  It all goes to prove that no matter what group Mystique is with, she will always be on her own, working on her next conniving plot.

Why is she important?:

Mystique is pretty much THE female villain in the X-Men universe and beyond.  Mystique is the reason the newest X-Men: Days of Future Past plot even happened.  While often using her powers for evil rather than good, she has always believed in her fellow mutants.  She has taken many in and showed them how to deal with their abilities, particularly her lover, Destiny, and her adopted daughter, Rogue.  Her mission to assassinate Senator Robert Kelly, a popular anti-mutant politician, proves her loyalty to those who share her likeness.  While Mystique acts on her own safety much of the time, she is still one of the fore figures fighting for the rights of all mutant-kind.

all photos belong to Marvel.

written by Adrian Puryear

So Far This Week…May 28, 2014

Oh my stars and garters, Hushsters! We’ve skipped an entire week of news. In our defense, we were a little busy. We took a trip to Houston to visit Taylor Lowe, where we went to Comicpalooza. Not only was it a great time, but it was also kind of a milestone moment for us. We went as press for the first time, interviewed Batman artist Greg Capullo (also a first), met Stan “The Man” Lee, geeked out at the Buffy panel, and lots more. Check back on the site, or here for more of our Comicpalooza stuff, including a James Marsters panel and an in-depth synopsis of the weekend.

 

LeVar Burton is Kickstarting to relaunch Reading Rainbow. Will it work? Hell yeah it will; the campaign is “flying twice as high,” already shattering it’s $1,000,000 goal in less than 24 hours. “Take a look; it’s in a book. Reading Raaaainbow!”

X-Men: Days of Future Past was released this past weekend. It was “cool,” but we weren’t really that impressed. Here is my full review (SPOILER FREE) of the movie. On the bright side, they’ve released what the special edition Blu-Ray set will look like (August release?) and we will definitely be picking that up.

Sad times, as we lost one of the world’s greatest poets and civil rights’ activists in Maya Angelou.

A bunch of peeps are being cast for Season 5 of Game of Thrones. If you’re a book noob like me, then you probably don’t know who any of these guys are.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are better at acting than you are.

The Hateful Eight will start filming in November. The Quentin Tarantino film was canned previously when the script was leaked, but the director has since had a change of heart.

There goes more of that #SixSeasonsAndAMovie Community talk, with Hulu being the newest candidate to pick up the freshly canceled show.

Don’t say Denzel is an too old to kick ass… speaking of, when did Hit-Girl start looking like that?

My most anticipated game of the summer came out yesterday. Watch Dogs promises to be an open world adventure of hacking goodness – the game has already broken the company’s record for single-day sales (the same company that owns Assassin’s Creed, mind you). The release hasn’t been smooth sailing, though, as bomb threats and crippling glitches have slowed it down. Hopefully we can sit down and murder this game to have a review to you in the next couple weeks.

If you’re already over hacking, then check out this extended trailer for Arkham Knight, complete with gameplay.

We like to think our Game of Thrones reviews are decent, but let’s be honest: if we could watch Seth Rogan and Snoop Dogg get high and then review GoT every week, we probably wouldn’t write them anymore.

Boardwalk Empire alumnus Charlie Cox will be playing lead Matt Murdock in the Netflix original Marvel series, Daredevil. I loved his work on Boardwalk, so I think this is a great pick-up.

DC Comics has gone through quite the transformation since they launched 52 new books in 2011… but here we are in 2014, and they’re close to canceling 52 books in three years. Yikes.

The guy who played Barry Allen in the 1991 series has been cast as Barry Allen’s father in the new Flash TV Series.

Comic book legend Alan Moore is launching a mobile app called Electricomics, designed to help self-publish independent creators. This could be the answer to what creators do after ComiXology was acquired by Amazon earlier in the year.

Ben Templesmith is releasing his Kickstarter-backed The Squidder, a four issue series post-apocalyptic tale.

Here are this year’s Television Critics Award nominationsOrange is the New Black getting a nomination is HUGE. Could online streaming television really be the future of how we watch shows?

Marvel is looking to do something superhero-ey, but not what you’d expect. Grab your 3D printer and get ready to recharge your imagination with Big Hero 6.

Ooh! That reminds me, ComiXology is giving away a free comic book each day for 20 days. We are currently on day three, where you can pick up My Little Pony: Pony Tales Vol. 1. Check back each day; they occasionally have cool stuff, too (if My Little Pony isn’t your thang).

That Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist webseries we were talking about a while ago? Yeah, well it’s out. And it’s the shit. Devour it all right now.

Here’s Johnny! Depp plays Whitey in next month’s documentary, WHITEY: America vs. James Bulgar.

Jaden Smith wore a Batman costume to Kim K.’s wedding. And it was white. Who wears white on the brides day? Really?

The Mad Men mid-season finale involved a very odd musical number.

The Batman vs. Superman film finally got a full title, Dawn of Justice.

BATMAN… IN SPACE!!! LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham was announced. We’re just add that to the list of things we’re going to go broke for.

 

Written by Sherif Elkhatib and Adrian Puryear