Posts Tagged ‘Alan Moore’

Here’s a fun little trailer for League of Legends Season One:

I don’t play WoW. Apparently, this is a spin-off from it, and the Trailer is marketing for the game. Which is cool.

If one peruses the LoL website, you can check out the multiple characters, and it’s pretty staggering: artistically, it’s like you took comic books, Mortal Combat, pro “wrestling”, steam punk elements, Harry Potter, Frank Frazetta, Pokemon, D&D, pin-up models, cute anime characters, and Capcom into an blender, and this is what you’d get. It’s like a unified theory of role-playing, power-wish-fulfillment, and avatar-powered escapism. And it’s pretty grand.

These MMORPG games are an artistic borg- “What? Superheros? Sure. We’ll take ’em. A He-Man-type comic Orko sprite-thing? Yep. Magic chick in an improbable bustier? Yes, please. Sauron-huge guy with proportionally ridiculous armor? Uh-huh. Werewolves? Well, WHY the f*@k NOT?!?” And I’m not even capping on the sensibility; there’s something amazingly, geeksomely democratic about the whole thing.

Watching the two teams of super-hero archetypes in fantasy-sheep’s clothing Avengers Assemble! into two fighting forces for “the Final Battle” would make Jack Kirby proud. You’ve got your huge bruiser-type, your hot-chick-who-can-best-any-man, your thief/mage, your magician, your small-yet-mighty lil’ guys- it’s the Superfriends vs. the Legion of Doom, WoW-style. When I saw it, I was like, “Of course it was heading in this direction: take the proven super-hero soap-opera, skin it with fantasy elements, add some FIGHTING…” and there you go.

When I saw BioShock a couple of years ago, I was really taken by how it combined Myst-like storytelling, remarkable cinematic design (both character and sets), with Doom and Silent Hill-like scary atmospherics and action. Intense. I think at this point, it’s beyond safe to say that the true visionaries are working in games, not movies.

Taking chances in the box, not worrying whether someone’s nephew (who got the studio job because of staggering nepotism) will greenlight a project if he can get his client/good friend on board. Game production is punk rock, in the box (the computer, rather “artistic box”), with an unlimited budget for effects, costumes, and sets.

What of story? (more…)

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Scott Thill did a nice interview with Alan Moore over at Wired, in which he discusses a number of things, primarily his Zine, Dodgem Logic. Mr. Moore seems to be melding the “global/local” movement, into something he calls lobel– basically, producing his ‘zine, marketing it globally (via Mr. Moore’s already considerable fame and interest in his “brand”), then taking the profits and donating proceeds to local charities. Pretty cool.

The following observation was what struck me:

…I would like to see a situation where people finally got fed up with celebrity culture. Where people started this great democratic process in the arts where more and more people were just producing individually according to their own wants or needs.

It is possible in this day and age to make very low-budget films, using technology that the pioneers of cinema would have killed for that is relatively cheaply available down at your local electronics store. The means of making music or art are more in the hands of the people than they ever have been before. I think it would be great to see an end to the big entertainment companies in whatever industry, whether it be music, cinema or comic books.

I’d like to see people actually get angry about the quality of the material that they are having shoved down their throats. It can’t be good for us. And I would like to see people responding to that by basically following the old maxim that if you want a job done right you do it yourself.

This, to me, is what’s terrifying Hollywood (and rightfully so)- why watch King of Queens (I realize the pointedness of that question) when that kid with the weekly hilarious show he shoots in his garage in Iowa has another episode up? And he’s sponsored by his local bike shop? And it’s funnier (albeit not as nicely lit) than any clunky sitcom on tv?

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Finished the second section of Page 9.

“Will and imagination, tied, the keys to all success provide

Silver and gold, together bound, bring daydreams down to solid ground.”

-Mike and Mack the Snakes, Promethea, Issue 12, by Alan Moore

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So much more effective and spooky than even my favorite part of the Watchmen movie, Jackie Earle Haley’s performance:


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I understand the precious argument out there about “leaving some books alone.” I used to feel that a book is tainted by a bad theatrical production. (I don’t exactly sit with Moore in thinking they are totally irrelevant, either.)

The thing is, lately, the movies have been doing a pretty good job. The Harry Potter movies are great. I think the choice of a “visionless hack” like Chris Columbus was in retrospect a really smart choice for the first one, because his slavish  accuracy created a setting for the other more creative (Cuaron) directors to play with. The Narnia books were a little soppy, but certainly no more so than the books themselves. The screen realization of the first movie was a fucking dream. I was literally trembling for more than half of the movie, and the scenes of the kids walking through the forest in their fur coats so perfectly captured the Pauline Baines illos that I very nearly shit myself. I’ll grant you that if you are a fan of His Dark Materials, you got fairly well dicked over by Hollywood.

Okay, so Where the Wild Things Are is going to be a movie. I hear you bitching. Yes, it’s all of our private treasure. But here’s the thing: Sendak chose Jonze. So that just about settles for me. One more time: Sendak. Chose. Jonze. It almost rhymes with stfu.

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Went against my better instincts and saw Zack Snyder’s Watchmen Monday. Woof. I was fighting myself, as, of course, Moore’s Watchmen and Miller’s Dark Knight melted my brain back in ’87.

I’ll make this quick, as who-the-hell-cares. What I liked:

  • Stunning opening credits, except for the JFK/Comedian connection. Ponderous. Like a rhino with a paintbrush.
  • Added scene with Rorschach and his therapist (surprisingly).
  • Jackie Earle Haley and his performance in general. One of the few people in the film you care about at all. His last scene is really touching.

What I didn’t like so much:

  • Malin Ackerman. She’s beautiful, and looks as close to a real world Laurie as possible, but… just wasn’t ready for this. Could have been the direction. In her defense, I wasn’t really blown away by anyone save JEH.
  • The endless stop-start slo-mo bullshit. Everything doesn’t have to be fucking WAY COOL. Tell the goddamn story. Every action scene is a showstopper. If everything is amazing looking, nothing is amazing. Nothing has any weight. Snyder has no subtlety at all.
  • The gratuitous violence: Bones snapping, close up on the arms being sawed, fetishizing the violence. Needless. And why did the Ozymandias/Rorschach/NiteOwl fight have to go on FOR YEARS? This isn’t the Matrix; the point of that fight was to show Veidt’s phyical dominance over both Rorschach and NiteOwl.

As Joe Jackson would sing, I could go on but what’s the use? Overall, I was surprised that I didn’t hate the changed ending. Maybe by that point I had given up. More than anything, I feel as if I compromised myself, and didn’t respect Alan Moore’s wishes as a creator. I went in with high hopes but low expectations, and came out feeling like a sell-out.

“Disappointed!” yelled Kevin Kline.

I will say this: it was beautifully shot.

UPDATE: Patton Oswalt has a great opinion on his myspace blog, completely dismantling my cynicism. He’s right. It was gonna get made no matter what. I think what I’m annoyed about is the inevitability of Hollywood narrative corruption (“I’m not sure if the blue penis works…”) and just the lazy acceptance of it.

Zack Snyder did a great job. I’m still not sure if that justifies the adaptation, but I’m glad it was Zack who did it, someone who clearly loves the material, even if I quibble with his execution of it. After all, what the f*ck have I directed?

It takes vigilance to not turn into Jeff Albertson.

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Finally Netflixed Steamboy, Katsuhiro Otomo‘s stunning anime picture.  I’m of two minds about it: It’s visually staggering. The London Exhibition, the sheer imagining of the visuals, the alternate reality, all overwhelming.  But I couldn’t help feel as if there was something missing. According to Wikipedia, it’s the the most expensive full length Japanese animated movie ever made. After watching it, I felt a lot like I feel after watching a Tim Burton movie: artistically shellshocked, in awe of the vision and craft, but absolutely uninvested in the story and emotional center of the film.

What’s the deal with animation? Why can’t they figure it out? Gaiman, Sim, Miller and Moore(and many others) elevated comics, why can’t anyone but Pixar and early Disney make me give a shit? When the credits rolled after Wall-E, and that great Peter Gabriel song came on, I was moved. (Of course, I’m a HUGE PG mark, so that may’ve infected me.) Watch Lady and the Tramp; it’s unbelievably atmospheric and beautiful.

The point I’m trying to make is this: How come there can’t be animated adult narratives that don’t try and be all things to all people? An animated Sopranos? Something that pushes the envelope. This was even my complaint with Lord of the Rings: They just had to shoehorn that goddamned Arwen narrative in there, didn’t they? Had to add that trite romantic sublot. It didn’t work.

If I can agree that Tom Bombadil wouldn’t have worked in the film (and doesn’t really work in the novels), can’t we agree that no one gives a shit about Liv Tyler? And I like Liv Tyler as an actress. She did about as good as anyone could’ve done with an extraneous subplot. But Tolkein didn’t write it, and it sticks out like a gangrene thumb.

Like Carl, I’m watching The Wire. I’m on Season Three. Like the Sopranos, like Deadwood (still my favorite), it’s sublime, uncompromising, and a work of art. People love it. They rent it, they buy it. Although it didn’t get the audience it deserved on HBO, it will eventually get the audience through word-of-mouth rentals, downloads and DVD purchases. It will live on. It’s too good not to. What TV and Film execs always fail to realize is that when you swing from the heart, you always connect with someone. (How many people do you think actually are passionate owning Everybody Loves Raymond on DVD? On second thought, don’t answer that- I may not want to know.)  All I’m asking is that someone make an animated film or series that doesn’t talk down to me, and challenges me the way the aforementioned series do.

Too much to ask? Probably. At least I’ll have South Park, which keeps going from strength to strength.

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I’m reading a book I got from the Santa Monica Library (more like skimming it before bed) about the life of Winsor McCay: Winsor McCay: His Life And Art. It’s a stunning collection (which you can find at Amazon here). To be honest, I’ve always known of Winsor McCary, but didn’t really know much about him. Suffice to say, I’ll be doing my research, as I feel as if I’ve unearthed a treasure trove of amazing illustration and storytelling.

Just a quick scan through the book underlines a few points: McCay was a designer/illustrator on par with William Morris and Aubrey Beardsley; McCay worked tirelessly throughout his life; and McCay did things with a comic strip that transcended the genre. There’s a great quote from McCay in the book (and I paraphrase): “Animation should be an art form, not a trade (italics mine).”

I also found a great little quote online from Chuck Jones:

It is as though the first creature to emerge from the primeval slime was Albert Einstein; and the second was an amoeba, because after McCay’s animation, it took his followers nearly twenty years to find out how he did it.

Just a quick glance at McCay’s book suggests the influence on Maurice Sendak, Chris Ware, Alan Moore, countless others. Truly a giant in the field. I wholeheartedly suggest the book.

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