Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tiny Christmas Music

Over at NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts you can catch a short holiday set from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.  Tasty!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Truth Is Out There (Again)

Joe Harris “X-Files Season 10 Volume 1” (IDW, 2013)
I don’t know exactly where the trend for cancelled TV shows to continue on in the world of comics started, but the X-Files are the latest show to give it a try.  It’s a great idea actually.  The production costs are lower, availability and aging of the cast doesn’t matter.  But the story can continue for the fans.

That seems to be the crucial thing right there.  Like the rest of these projects, Season 10 is for the fans.  If you aren’t already a fan of the show, just put it down and walk away.  This comic isn’t for you.  On the other hand, if you were a fan, this may just give you a fix you probably didn’t even realize that you were wanting.

This volume is really all about getting the various characters in play, so – in classic X-Files fashion—it’s difficult to tell what really going on here. But Harris is getting ALL FOUR investigators (plus the supporting characters) in play, and that takes some set up.

For someone who has watched all the show and even thinks those final seasons were better than you think (don’t judge me), this was fun fun stuff.  I’m looking forward to seeing where Harris takes our favorite FBI agents.  In a medium where we don’t have to worry about the cost of effects, literally the cosmos are the limit!

More New Pulp Goodness

Mark Waid & Daniel Indro “The Green Hornet, Volume 1” (Dynamite, 2013)
As you may remember, the Green Hornet is a rich businessman by day, masked crime fighter by night.  He and his servant Kato prowl the streets and alleys to stop a variety of crimes.  

Mark Waid’s start to the character is a tragedy in the classical sense.  The Hornet’s real adversary in this volume is himself.  This is a sophisticated start for a run on a comic, one that we don’t often see.  In fact my only real critique comes from Waid’s approach.  It’s all predicated on the fall of the hero.  Yet with a pulp hero like the Green Hornet, the reader just isn’t as invested as in a more contemporary hero.  Perhaps a better approach would have been to have this as a second story arc.  The first would be all about generating sympathy and investment in the character.  As it now reads, my response was more one of “well, he’s an ass” than shock or dismay or any of the desired responses.

Daniel Indro’s art is consistently strong throughout the run.  He chooses to avoid the clich├ęd superhero look and go for a more realistic approach.  While maintaining this aesthetic, he still manages to draw effective action sequences.  It’s a great approach to a pulp character, reminding us of the fundamental differences of his world, while still conveying the information that we need.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Peculiar is the Perfect Word

Christopher Fowler “The Invisible Code” (Bantam, 2013)

I was not sure what to expect with this novel.  It’s my introduction to the Peculiar Crimes Unit, although apparently the 10th in the series.  In fact, I would say that I spent the first part of the novel trying to decide if this was a stealth urban fantasy novel.  It opens with children hunting witches.  They are playing – or are they?  One of the aging detectives visits his doctor – does he somehow transfer his afflictions to the doctor? While it didn’t scream urban fantasy, there did seem to be enough hints that something fantastical could happen at any moment. 

What actually happens is that Bryant and May are asked to investigate an odd, but not supernatural situation.  Has a woman gone mad?  Or is she the victim of a diabolical tormentor? The solution to the investigation involves looking into both the history of the woman and the history of London itself.  

The Invisible Code is a very entertaining, very British procedural.  Bryant and May are both antiquated and odd.  The complete package is a unique and amusing variation on the police procedural.  While The Invisible Code may be my first Peculiar Crimes novel, I doubt that it will be the last.